UNION pressure on council has escalated, with accusations of a bullying cover-up.
The Australian Services Union (ASU) put out a statement yesterday, with its assistant secretary, Richard Duffy, saying there had been an attempted cover up of the investigation which found 21 of 23 allegations of bullying by Councillor Julian Fidge towards council staff proven.
“Over the past few weeks, the Minister for Local Government, Jeanette Powell, National Party MP Tim McCurdy and the mayor of Wangaratta, Rozi Parisotto, have strenuously denied that there is any bullying at the council,” he said
“The ASU has seen a report which shows that bullying allegations made against Cr Fidge have been investigated, with 21 of the 23 allegations now proven.
“What’s worse is that all councillors have the report and a copy went to Minister Powell back in April, however, everyone seems to deny its existence.
“This is a massive cover-up.
“The council has been negligent in providing employees with a safe workplace and systems of work to protect workers against issues such as bullying.
“Minister Powell said in parliament on May 29 that she had no power to sack the councillor.
“We think she is ducking for cover.
“She should take her responsibility seriously and protect the employees at the Rural City of Wangaratta before any further bullying takes place.
“The ASU calls on the minister to direct the secretary of the Department of Planning and Community Development to initiate proceedings to suspend and/or dismiss Cr Fidge for breaches of the councillor code of conduct.
“Bullying is a serious issue that can lead to tragic outcomes for those affected, so these allegations need to be taken seriously, instead of those in power continuing on in their state of denial.”
Cr Parisotto declined to comment on the accusations, while the minister’s office did not reply to the Wangaratta Chronicle’s enquiries prior to going to print.
Cr Fidge has previously said he has not bullied anyone, but been a victim.
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