Proper inquiry will shine light on the issue, says Fagg
FORMER mayor Keith Fagg has written to the State Government asking for a ministerial inquiry into an alleged culture of bullying at the City of Greater Geelong.
“I have written today to the Local Government Minister (Natalie Hutchins) urging her to insist on a ministerial-level inquiry into allegations of bullying at council. As more and more information is coming out, it is clear that a fully independent, ministerial in- quiry is warranted. This will shine a light on the issue and I expect for many people may come as a great relief,” Mr Fagg said.
Currently, it is the City of Greater Geelong that has said it will commission an investigation into an alleged culture of bullying within its own organisation.
City CEO Gillian Miles this week promised to appoint an independent investigator to examine bullying claims.
But Mr Fagg said for any investigation into bullying to be truly effective and enlight- ening, it had be commissioned outside the council so people who wanted to speak out could feel safe doing so.
“Particularly where incidents involved councillors or senior officers,” he said. “If council is in charge of this investigations process, there is a perceived risk that the information may get out somehow. For people who feel bullied, one of their greatest fears is retribution. Now is the time to do this and do it properly.”
Mr Fagg’s call for a State Government inquiry comes as long-serving councillor Stretch Kontelj alleges Geelong’s first democratically elected mayor was a victim of bullying and harassment by some Geelong councillors.
Asked by the Geelong Advertiser if he believed there had been bullying in the council chamber Cr Kontelj said: “Certainly I believe there has been bullying and harassment from time to time. Absolutely. Keith Fagg is an example on point where a large element of the reason why he left was because of treatment that he received at the hands of certain council- lors ... there was a number of councillors that made life very difficult and in a normal workplace that would be called bullying and harassment.
“But he’s a gentleman and while he has made certain comments about culture and bullying and harassment he’s been too gentlemanly to name names. But the fact remains that when he was there I was certainly aware of bullying and harassment of him and he had expressed the same to me. He definitely was at the receiving end of some rough treatment.”
‘I have written today to the Local Government
Minister (Natalie Hutchins) urging her to insist on a ministerial
FORMER MAYOR KEITH FAGG