Council staff issued new notice of protection



TWEED Shire Council's 600 staff have been given a second and more forceful guarantee that they will not be persecuted if they give evidence at the upcoming investigation into council.

General manager Dr John Griffin on Monday was forced to issue a further memo after the head of the inquiry, Professor Maurice Daly, wrote asking him to allay any lingering staff fears.

In his letter, Commissioner Daly congratulated Dr Griffin for his first memo that went to staff last week but said his assistants had been contacted by some staff members still expressing fears of the consequences of them submitting material to the inquiry.

Commissioner Daly asked that a further memo be issued to staff guaranteeing they would not be harassed, intimidated or suffer negative consequences if they gave evidence, saying he felt sure that a "single sentence would allay any fears that might be lingering".

Dr Griffin's second memo gives such a guarantee, telling staff that whether they gave written or oral evidence they would not be harassed, intimidated or suffer negative consequences and it was a "commitment that I take most seriously".

Watchdog group Tweed Monitor described Dr Griffin's first memo responding to Commissioner Daly's request as "bordering on contempt".

Monitor spokesman Jerry Cornford said that nowhere in his first memo did Dr Griffin give an unequivocal indemnity against staff making a negative submission to the inquiry.

"We believe this is far short of what the inquiry was asking for and reflects an attitude bordering on contempt," Mr Cornford said.

People wishing to make submissions or appear at the inquiry should notify the Office of the Commissioner, Locked Bag A5045, Sydney South, NSW, 1235, or by email to InquiryCommis- sioner@dlg.nsw.gov.au by January 28.



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