Recently the Daily Telegraph has reported allegations of bullying and harassment in the City of Sydney's rangers unit. These reports are misleading and are shamefully being used by some for self-centred political point-scoring.
The City of Sydney Rangers do excellent work, often in challenging circumstances. They are one of the public faces of our local government and we often receive emails, phone calls and letters from members of the public thanking rangers for their help in a variety of situations. Our staff have my full support and I thank them for their continuing hard work.
On 22 June 2015, the City of Sydney was advised of the passing of Mr Leong Lim, a member of our City Rangers team who died while on long service leave. I am deeply saddened by his death and express my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
On 25 June 2015 the City was informed by Mr Lim's next of kin that they had been told by the NSW Coroner that Mr Lim's death was due to natural causes. This information was passed on in good faith. After consultation with the Coroner, we are advised that the cause and manner of death has not yet been determined. As this matter is before the Coroner it is inappropriate to speculate before there is a proper finding.
While under the NSW Local Government Act operational matters like staffing are the responsibility of the CEO, I want to assure our Rangers of my support and our City's commitment to continue working to ensure this is an organisation where all of our staff are proud to be employed and look forward to coming to work.
When concerns about morale in the Rangers Unit were raised in 2012, prior to the election of the current Council, the City instigated an independent review by Warfield and Associates, resulting what has been called 'The Warfield Report'.
Staff who took part in that review were promised that their comments would be kept confidential to encourage open and honest feedback. As the report contains personal and confidential information about staff, it has not been released in its entirety.
However, I provided a six page answer to a Question on Notice from Councillor Edward Mandla about parking enforcement on 25 August 2014 including details of the recommendations of the Warfield report and their implementation. You can read a copy of that answer here.
The City's CEO has also provided an update on her work responding to concerns raised by Rangers. You can read a copy of her statement here.
I have also spoken with a representative of the United Services Union, which is satisfied with the action the City is taking and confirms that the City consistently addresses issues raised by the union or its members in accordance with the relevant Award and local policies. You can read their statement here.
The City of Sydney is committed to being a supportive employer. I ask all Councillors to respond to the current situation in the sensitive and responsible manner that it deserves.