Sunday, April 30, 2006

Council meets over Seamer Departure

Council has an extra-ordinary meeting at 430pm tomorrow (Monday 1 May) in the Council Chamber - all welcome. The meeting has been called by Councillors still not satisfied by the 'sacking - resignation' of respected former CEO of the City of Sydney Mr Peter Seamer and the events surrounding his sudden and lamented departure.

Even an independent fan would have to admit that Clover Moore has been pretty shoddy in all this. It has not been her finest hour. Now it appears from the Australian weekend reports that she consulted a former Lord Mayor one week before 'consulting' Councillors about the problem's she was having with Seamer.

I'm shocked that Clover Moore has made such an amateur mess of this situation. Add to that a leak of the confidential legal documents to the SMH on Friday that clearly came from her office. She dares to lecture other Councillors and the 'major parties' (evidently now including the Greens) about ethical behaviour and transparency in public office, but doesn't seem to see her own hypocrisy. Whilst the SMH was a bit soft on her performance on the weekend - the Australian went to the issue of the appalling calculated character assassination of Seamer.

Here's a letter 5 Councillors have distributed to the press on the leak.

Dear Editor,

As Councillors of the City of Sydney we are appalled that the highly respected former CEO Peter Seamer has had his reputation dragged through the mud in the press. The leaking of allegations of 'serious misconduct' against Mr Seamer has been calculated to tarnish his reputation and has only served the interests of the Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP. All opposition Councillors declare no knowledge of this appalling leak to the media and have signed statutory declarations to that effect. We call upon Clover Moore to either provide evidence of this alleged 'misconduct' or withdraw the allegations and apologize to Mr Seamer for any damage and hurt this calculated public attack has caused to his reputation.

yours sincerely


Councillor Verity Firth - Deputy Lord Mayor
Councillor Chris Harris
Councillor Michael Lee

Councillor Shayne Mallard
Councillor Tony Pooley

and the Australian's article:

Mayor held secret talks on sacking

Imre Salusinszky, NSW political reporter - The Australian
April 29, 2006
SYDNEY Lord Mayor Clover Moore consulted her predecessor, Lucy Turnbull, about difficulties she was having with the council's chief executive a full week before she informed any of her fellow councillors.
Former chief executive Peter Seamer resigned on April 4, an hour before Ms Moore says she was planning to seek the 10-strong council's approval to dismiss him.
The Weekend Australian has learned that, in several conversations during the week beginning March26, Ms Moore canvassed problems she was having with Mr Seamer with Ms Turnbull, the wife of millionaire federal Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull.
Ms Moore refused last night to deny that the consultations with Ms Turnbull had taken place.
The news has enraged Ms Moore's fellow councillors, who have persistently argued she stepped outside her delegated authority in the manner in which she arranged for Mr Seamer's departure.
Liberal councillor Shayne Mallard said: "It is disturbing that Clover Moore discusses sacking Seamer with a former lord mayor but fails to consult the current councillors - and when she does it is shown to be dishonest."
Labor councillor Tony Pooley said: "It's extraordinary that she was consulting with a former lord mayor and not with councillors who have got current experience of the chief executive."
Mr Seamer's camp has broken its silence on the controversy surrounding his departure, telling The Weekend Australian leaked suggestions that he was guilty of misconduct were false.
With Mr Seamer holidaying in the US and bound by a confidentiality agreement, his lawyer Gerard Phillips said yesterday: "Peter categorically denies the suggestion that he was guilty of any conduct that would have warranted his dismissal and, in fact, he wasn't dismissed."
The so-called "opposition" members of the council - three Labor, one Liberal and one Green - issued a joint statement yesterday accusing Ms Moore of dragging Mr Seamer's reputation through the mud by leaking allegations of unspecified "serious misconduct" to the media.
Mr Mallard told The Weekend Australian that Ms Moore's office had"deliberately smeared Peter Seamer's reputation in a bid to protect the Lord Mayor's position".
"It's pretty hypocritical that we got a lecture on confidentiality two days ago, and now it's leaked by Clover Moore's side," he said.
Ms Moore told The Weekend Australian last night: "It appears that there has been an unauthorised disclosure of confidential information, and I have asked the acting CEO to take appropriate action."
One emerging explanation for the friction between Ms Moore and Mr Seamer is that during his 14-month tenure he tried to ease the planning backlog in the Sydney CBD that has led to development being siphoned off to Brisbane and Melbourne.
For example, Foster's Australia has been seeking planning approval for nearly three years for its $800million inner-city former brewery site.
A company spokesman said yesterday it felt the council's capability was "broad and can ensure the process continues".
A former senior City of Sydney officer said allegations of serious misconduct against Mr Seamer were "absolute nonsense" and that Ms Moore's approach to planning was the issue.
"The woman has no management or commercial experience, doesn't understand these issues, and wants to control everything," the former officer said.


David Davies said...

Thanks for your blog, Shayne. It is great. I hope many people are reading it. I just wish more people would respond to your excellent work and let everyone hear what they are thinking.

I attended council tonight and was totally shocked at Clover and her "independents". I wrote a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald last week congratulating her team on standing up to the autocratic Moore. But I see I was wrong. They really are only lap dogs who don't believe in transparency and good government. They are worse than any other political party in Australia. And they talk about people playing politics!!

Maybe the state government should sacked them all and call new elections. Better than a dictatorship run by Clover Moore with no accountability.

I hope you are really going to take this matter to the NSW ombudsman. Something must be done about Moore's behaviour.

David Davies,
Surry Hills

Shayne Mallard said...

Thanks for the postive feedback David. I will be writing to the NSW Ombudsman today outlining a case for him to investigate the actions of the Lord Mayor - particularly misleading the Council and using ratepayer's funds to cover this affair up with secrecy and lawyers. I was not suprised that Clover Moore would oppose a debate about a referral to the Ombudsman as she has been a total hypocrite throughout this issue.

On the blog - please pass the link around as I welcome good feedback and since I do not have any budget for marketing (as compared to Clover Moore's millions) it is one cost effective way to communicate.


PS This is a copy of my comment put on the later post.