Council release WorkSafe bullying report

WHITTLESEA council has released to the public a WorkSafe report that indicates bullying policies and procedures at the City of Whittlesea are above board.

WorkSafe attended council offices last month in response to allegations of workplace bullying at the City of Whittlesea.

WorkSafe inspector Scott Anderson met with City of Whittlesea manager of governance Michael Tonta, team leader of safety and wellbeing Kon Karasavidis and team leader of human resources Anne McLeish to obtain workplace documents for further investigation.

Mr Anderson found the council’s workplace codes and procedures were thorough.

Mr Anderson added a recommendation that council consider adding further information to the Councillor Code of Conduct on inappropriate workplace behaviours as detailed in council’s policies on equal employment opportunity and prevention of bullying in the workplace.

The recommendation was put forward to assist further detailed guidance for councillors on standards of behaviour expected in their roles.Specific reports of the bullying allegations cannot be released due to privacy issues but City of Whittlesea Mayor Lawrie Cox said he was keen to release any related report that closes up the loops and showed transparency to residents.

“From our point of view, it’s about being transparent on the accusations that were made so people understand there’s nothing being hidden by council,” Cr Cox said.

“We have people acting against the interests of the council in my view – these reports are conducted at arm’s length and the conclusions are that we are acting fairly and above board at all times.”

Cr Caz Monteleone told Whittlesea Review that he welcomed the recommendation made by WorkSafe to strengthen the Councillor Code of Conduct to prevent incidences of bullying and ‘snide comments or baseless accusations’ that councillors were boycotting meetings.

“These comments are inflammatory and reflect badly on the attitudes of those councillors,” Cr Monteleone said.

Cr Tom Joseph said the report should be a circuit breaker for those councillors on strike to get back to work and do what they were elected to do.

Cr Lalios declined to comment.