CR JEREMY Rich has been identified by the South Gippsland Shire Council as the subject of numerous complaints by an unknown number of shire staff members.
The content of those complaints has not been released nor any indication of their seriousness.
But, in a resolution allegedly passed by the barest margin, behind closed doors, at a council meeting last Wednesday, Cr Rich has been ordered to make “individually addressed written sincere apologies to each of the staff members involved within 30 days of the resolution”.
Those apologies must be deemed suitable by the Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt and Deputy Mayor Cr Aaron Brown, believed to be among those who insisted on the unprecedented “personnel matter” being made public.
Here is the motion passed by council and published in the Minutes today (Friday, October 26):
“That council: 1. Determines that the personal interaction control measures required by Councillor Rich in confidential item 14.1 resolution no. 4 at the September 26, 2018 ordinary meeting of council be made public in the council minutes, including an amendment to the email address, as follows: a. notes that the interim measures that have been in place will remain in place subject to review as appropriate, and not less than every six months: i. Councillor Rich contacts the Chief Executive Officer and/or council’s directors directly in relation to queries that he might have; ii. Councillor Rich is not to have one-on-one communication with council non-executive staff and not contact any member of council staff other than the Chief Executive Officer or directors directly by telephone, email, or other means; iii. Councillor Rich directs all general enquiries (such as council administration, it, or personal ratepayerrelated matters), via email to email@example.com; iv. the Chief Executive Officer or relevant director determines whether it is necessary and appropriate for Councillor Rich to meet with, or otherwise speak to another staff member in order to address his query; v. if Councillor Rich needs to meet with the Chief Executive Officer for any reason outside of the normal, pre-arranged council occasions (i.e. briefings, workshops, council meetings and the like) the Mayor or another staff member will also be in attendance; and vi. if Councillor Rich needs to meet with a director for any reason outside of normal, pre-arranged council occasions (i.e. briefings, workshops, council meetings and the like) another staff member will also be in attendance. 2. Requires Councillor Rich to issue individually addressed written sincere apologies, which are deemed suitable by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, to each of the staff members involved within 30 days of this resolution and that this resolution be made public in the ordinary meeting 24 October 2018 minutes.”
The resolution indicates that these ”personal interaction control measures” have been in place from at least September 2018.
Asked to provide an explanation for council’s action, the number of staff involved and the nature of the complaints, the CEO Tim Tamlin said all aspects, other than those published by the council, were confidential in nature.
He did say, however, that staff members had been issued with a memo today advising them of the measures put in place by the council.
Cr Rich, who managed an apology of sorts earlier in last week’s council meeting, told the ‘Sentinel-Times’ immediately after the meeting that he might be prepared to say more at a later date.