A move by the NSW Government to appoint an independent administrator at Wingecarribee Shire Council for three months to address serious issues, including allegations of harassment and bullying of staff, has been welcomed by the local government union.
The United Services Union said the formal notice of intention to suspend the Mayor and Councillors, issued on Wednesday afternoon by NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, is a positive step to address serious issues at the council and deliver better outcomes for staff and ratepayers.
The council now has seven days to respond to the notice before a final determination is made on the suspension of the Mayor and Councillors, and their replacement with an independent administrator.
USU organiser Rudi Oppitz said the union welcomed the Local Government Minister’s intervention.
“The union welcomes the Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock’s formal notice of her intention to suspend the Mayor and Councillors of Wingecarribee Shire and appoint an administrator to the council,” Mr Oppitz said.
“Like the Local Government Minister, the union has been made aware of allegations of harassment and bullying of staff, which are having a significant effect on the wellbeing of staff and the operations of the council.
“As we understand, these allegations are a central consideration in the Minister’s intervention, and we encourage Ms Hancock to press ahead with this action in the best interest of the staff and ratepayers of Wingecarribee Shire.
“We are aware that ratepayers have been calling for the NSW Government to step in and allow their voices to be heard.
“We hope the actions of the Minister will provide a vehicle for both ratepayers and our members at council to get to the bottom of what has been occurring.
“We are pleased the Minister is taking action on these serious allegations in an effort to deliver a better future for the residents and workers of Wingecarribee Shire.”
Media contact: Rudi Oppitz — 0409 662 460