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May 16, 2021

Byron’s departing GM wishy washy on code of conduct complaint

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Once more have I offended the fragile sensibility of our [Byron shire’s] departing GM, Ken Gainger.

As usual, ignoring the serious deficiencies of his tenure I listed, he has chosen to be upset by my mention of a Code of Conduct ‘assault’ on a volunteer.

Stating that he did not personally issue the code is being disingenuous. Despite numerous requests we never discovered the faceless ‘former employee’ who made the complaint – or why?

Ken refused to say, but as GM he had the option not to pursue it.

After all he says, ‘her actions were born out of enthusiasm and commitment to her community’ and ‘her reputation remains unsullied’.

Instead, Ken refused to interview or even talk to the volunteer (despite numerous requests) and allowed the process to drag on for a year involving the ombudsman and state departments.

It turned out that volunteers do not have the same protection under the code enjoyed by employees and councillors (who have the right to an interview).

Vigorously proceeding against a virtually defenceless volunteer for a trivial matter raises serious questions of process and motive.

In one sense I will miss Ken but to paraphrase Gore Vidal, I feel that his retirement is a good career move.

Tom Tabart, Drysdale, Victoria

 


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