The USU welcomes the statement released by Broken Hill Council General Manager James Roncon in yesterday’s Barrier Truth Daily (see below “Council fully supportive of staff”).

Comments by the GM as presented in the BDT on 26 June led USU members to meet and call for him to put out a public media release clarifying his statements, and the insinuations put forward in the newspaper.

The Union is happy that the GM responded to that call and issued a statement and appreciate his clarification about the waste services.

The union does believe further clarification is required in relation to comments reported about 10-12 staff members resigning due to performance reasons and believe further clarification of those statements as reported in the BDT are needed to assure both staff and the community.

As stands our members are still unaware of 10-12 staff that have left due to performance concerns.

Article by Michael Murphy

Barrier Daily Truth

Barrier Daily Truth articleA mass meeting of United Services Union members employed at City Council yesterday called on General Manager James Roncon to clarify statements in council business papers, which subsequently appeared in the Barrier Daily Truth.

Council’s business papers for its monthly meeting last night were released at the weekend and they detailed minutes from an Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee meeting.

The committee meeting discussed an internal audit report and recommended matters from the report be referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

USU Industrial Officer Stuart Geddes said his members had copped flak from the public after the story ran in the BDT on Monday.

“There ’s a lot of anxiety and a lot of anger (from members) in regards to those bad comments from the public,” Mr Geddes said yesterday afternoon.

”They want James to explain the situation so the finger is not being pointed.

“It is fairly clear what was said … in those agendas appears to be what is listed in the paper.

“‘We’ve got concerns that it brings our membership into a bad light, it brings council employees into a bad light, and potentially brings our members into disrepute in the community.”

About eighty union members met yesterday and passed the following motion: ”The General Manager to put out a public media release to clarify his statements in the council business papers and in the Barrier Daily Truth regarding both the waste services staff and the 10 to 12 staff that have left for performance reasons, and that be defend his employees in the public eye from the perception that has arisen.”

Mr Geddes, who is based in the Wollongong USU office, met with Mr Roncon on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

“A lot of our members have gotten concerned … that they have potentially been referred to ICAC, which the general manager has told us is not the case,” Mr Geddes said.

He also questioned a statement attributed to Mr Roncon that ten to 12 staff were performance-managed out of the organisation.

Mr Geddes said from 165 staff at council. 120 were USU members.

“We are not aware of ten to 12 staff that have left in the last 12 months for performance reasons within the organisation, so needless to say that has raised some concerns for our membership as well,” Mr Geddes said.

“But what our members really want is for the general manager to come out and clarify that position.”

Council fully supportive of staff

By James Roncon

Council wishes to clarify issues that have been raised as a result of the article “ICAC referral” (BDT, 24/6/2019).

The article correctly states that in February the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee identified that the current procedures at the weighbridge presented the opportunity for corruption.

The article also correctly states that Council were advised in May to refer a report around the waste facility to ICAC.

However, the reporting of comments regarding the weighbridge made in February along-side comments relating to ICAC made in May unfortunately appears to have cultivated the perception amongst some parts of the community that these two matters are linked.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The matters being referred to ICAC are in fact solely related to a procurement process undertaken at the waste facility, and are completely unrelated to the operation of the weighbridge.

Council remains fully supportive of all its staff, and regrets that this matter has caused undue concern for both staff and the community.