Council officers suspended without pay

Sydney Morning Herald

Wednesday 18 December 2002
Infringement officers at the City of Sydney who are accused of claiming excessive overtime and unauthorised bonuses for meeting revenue targets have been suspended while an investigation into the affair continues.

The council's manager of enforcement services, Ian Louden, resigned yesterday and 10 officers were suspended without pay.

Some of them were paid unauthorised overtime, which increased salaries by up to $70,000.

The council's enterprise bargaining agreement with the Municipal and Shire Employees
Union allowed for a bonus payment of $750 for meeting income targets to June 30, 2000. But general manager Robert Domm is investigating further unauthorised payments. No charges are being considered at this stage.

The officers primarily dealt with infringements such as illegal dumping, but they also monitored parking in Pyrmont and Ultimo.

The Opposition yesterday called for an explanation from the Lord Mayor, Frank Sartor, with its local government spokesman Duncan Gay saying the bonus payments encouraged revenue raising.

"There needs to be a full and public explanation of the way this scheme was allowed to operate," he said. "If these performance bonuses were contained in enterprise bargaining agreements, then they would have been ticked off by the highest levels of the council."

Cr Sartor did not comment yesterday, but a spokesman said a $750 bonus was made for maintaining revenue targets from previous years and there were no increased targets each year.

Claire O'Rourke