Council favours and bullying
REFUSING to toe the line and maintain the status quo inside the Tweed Shire Council ultimately cost Tracey Hooper her job. The former council recruitment officer was made redundant in August of 2004, after 10 years in the organisation, and gave evidence at the inquiry into the council yesterday.
Ms Hooper said she was made redundant because she spoke up on injustices in the organisation, including favouritism in the job appointment process.
"It was a culture to maintain the status quo at all costs," she said.
"I had a strong sense of justice in myself and found it very difficult on every occasion to toe the line, which ultimately led to my redundancy."
Ms Hooper said that when she raised issues she was bullied and openly threatened by superiors who were under pressure from executivelevel staff.
"There was discrimination, defamatory comments made about (job) candidates. When interviews were conducted they would ask inappropriate questions, give assumptions about candi- dates," she said.
When general manager John Griffen's contract was extended and salary increased, she said there was a lot of sarcasm towards his renewal.
"There was the feeling if the general manager is satisfying the councillors he will almost surely be reappointed," she said.
"He used this to his advantage."
Since leaving council, she said former colleagues had told her they were afraid of making submissions to the inquiry. "I don't believe they have an open door policy," she said.