Edward Mandla
City ranger dies after blowing whistle on corruption.

Published On: 26/06/2015

The Daily Telegraph, page 3.


LORD Mayor Clover Moore and City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone are under increased political pressure following the tragic death of a whistleblower employee four weeks after he raised allegations of corruption, mismanagement and poor mental health within the council’s dysfunctional parking rangers unit.

The body of parking ranger Leong Lim, 62, was found at his home in Waterloo on Monday — one month after he emailed Ms Moore, Ms Barone and other senior City of Sydney managers to highlight deteriorating morale, high sick leave and staff turnover within the ranger unit, which generates $33 million a year for the council.

Ms Moore, Ms Barone and the City of Sydney declined to answer questions about the case yesterday.

Police have referred Mr Lim’s death to Glebe Coroner’s Court and the cause of death is undetermined. The council has known about allegations of serious misconduct within the ranger unit since at least 2012 when City of Sydney ordered an investigation into allegations of “bullying, harassment, coercion and intimidation”.

The independent “Warfield” report handed down seven recommendations implemented by City of Sydney but which have failed to stem the flow of complaints emerging from the ranger unit. There is no suggestion Ms Moore or Ms Barone had any involvement in Mr Lim’s death.

Councillor Edward Mandla last night demanded Ms Moore and Ms Barone consider their positions pending a full investigation, citing their ongoing inability to tackle the ranger unit’s myriad issues.

“There is only one way forward in this matter. Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Chief Executive Monica Barone should, in the public interest, stand aside until this matter is investigated,” Mr Mandla said.

Mr Lim emailed Ms Moore, Ms Barone and other senior managers on May 17 with the subject line “welfare of City Rangers” and the opening paragraph: “I am compelled to write this email to all as I am concern(ed) with the mental health of this unit.”

The Malaysian-born union delegate and work health and safety representative, who has been described by colleagues as a passionate and dedicated employee, said morale and productivity within the rangers unit had “continued to plummet” and that the rate of sick leave was increasing.

City parking rangers issued 290,000 infringement notices worth $33 million in 2013-14 and took a whopping average of 16 days sick leave each — up from 11 days in 2011. Other concerns Mr Lim raised:

  • PARKING rangers’ performance reviews being linked to how many infringement notices they issued — a breach of council policy;
  • POORLY trained work “co-ordinators” ordering managers to deliberately mark down employees’ performance;
  • LACK of consultation with staff. Mr Lim ended his email by forecasting that he would be disciplined for airing his grievances, writing: “I realise that as the author of this email, I will attract the wrath of the powers-to-be (sic). In that case I am happy to go to level five in Town Hall and face any disciplinary action you deem I have breached.”

Ms Barone replied two days later acknowledging the issues he raised were “serious” but admonished the ranger for not following the proper complaints procedure.

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