Senior staff counselled over behaviour at workshop

By Jeremy Sollars

Two senior Southern Downs Regional Council employees were counselled over alcohol-related behaviour at a management workshop held at Cherrabah Resort in December last year.

As previously reported 15 members of the council’s senior management team, including chief executive officer David Keenan, attended a two-day “senior management development session” at Cherrabah on Thursday 5 December and Friday 6 December last year.

The workshop was led by a facilitator and cost ratepayers $3000 for meals and accommodation and conference facility hire, but the council did not disclose the cost of the professional facilitator, saying that information was “commercial in confidence”.

Along with the CEO the workshop was attended by the three department directors and managers of the council’s various work units.

A council spokeswoman previously told the Free Times it was “the first time since 2013 that Council’s senior management team has come together for this type of development session”.

“Due to the short period of time available for the workshop and the issues that needed to be addressed without interruption such as water sustainability, the challenges of service delivery during this extreme drought, bushfire recovery, team expectations, goal setting for the upcoming year, and organisational culture, it was decided to conduct this workshop offsite,” the spokeswoman said.

“Beverages consumed were paid for personally by attendees.”

The Free Times was last week told that “questions need to be asked about behaviour of council staff” at the workshop but the unidentified source provided no further details.

A council spokeswoman confirmed two staff members were counselled as a result of their behaviour.

The spokeswoman said “all staff have an obligation to meet Council’s Code of Conduct”.

“Behaviours contrary to the Code are dealt with in accordance with Council’s disciplinary procedures and cannot be discussed due to confidentiality,” the spokeswoman said.

“It is acknowledged that two team members, in their own personal time, were observed to be affected by alcohol.

“As previously advised, all attendees paid for their own beverages.

“Even though this was during personal time, the daily program was a work related activity.

“As such, both staff were reminded of their obligations under the Code of Conduct and subsequent discussions with their supervisors were held.

“No complaints were received from patrons or the staff of Cherrabah, likewise, no complaints were received from Council staff.”

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.