Why WCC whistleblowers don’t go to the boss

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Carol Altmann – The Terrier

A REMINDER. Mayor Tony Herbert was on ABC radio yesterday (8/10/19) and pondered why the WCC whistleblowers didn’t just wander in and talk to CEO Peter Schneider about their concerns.

Let me answer that question by starting with this text message (pictured).

This message was sent to all Warrnambool City Council staff when former tourism chief David McMahon resigned in mid July.

It was sent by CEO Peter Schneider: the new guy, the one who brought great hopes of a clean slate, a fresh start, a new way of doing things.

In it, the CEO praises Mr McMahon, thanks him for his efforts and wishes him well.

Mr McMahon quit because his gross misuse of ratepayers’ money had been exposed publicly here.

Mr McMahon was also a foul-mouthed bully and his behaviour, for which he was never called to account by his superiors, broke a lot of people.

There were people within council who knew about both of these things.

Yet, until July 16, Mr McMahon kept his job; unscathed and intact.

And when he did quit, he was praised by the new man in charge – the boss.

For many council staff, this was gutting.

Perhaps Mr Schneider now regrets this message, but wait, there is more, there always is.

From the minute I published my stories about the credit card abuse, the council has been trying to uncover my sources. They want to flush out and punish anyone who told the truth.

This is happening under Mr Schneider’s watch.

And still the Mayor and CEO wonder why nobody is coming to them with their allegations, concerns and fears.

I can sum it up in a word: trust.

And, right now, there is none.

Restoring trust, as Ratepayers Victoria has made clear, is the challenge.

The next few months will be telling.

1 thought on “Why WCC whistleblowers don’t go to the boss”

  1. Our Mayor and CEO appear to be attempting to keep secrets from the ratepayers. They are failing of course, for a number of reasons. But mostly because they don’t understand the concept of secrecy. They do not appear to understand that a secret is something I alone know. Once I share that information it is no long a secret, I lose control of that information from then on and anyone may access it and I might not even know. That is one of (the more cynical) reasons why governments at all levels should be honest and open. Sooner or later the information will appear in the public arena; bureaucracies cannot keep secrets because there are none in a bureaucracy. There will always be more than one person who has access to any given piece of information. The only surprise for me is that the Mayor and the CEO seem so surprised that this is happening to them or that no one is coming to them with their issues. But that comes down to trust which is a whole other issue that these two men appear not to understand.

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