Edward Mandla
Toxic Rangers, Clover Moore’s council turned blind eye to scandal

Published On: 30/06/2015

The Daily Telegraph, page 11


FRESH allegations of “spiteful, dishonest and inept” management within City of Sydney’s dysfunctional parking ranger unit have put further pressure on Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who incorrectly suggested a whistleblower employee died of natural causes.

Police believe Leong Lim, 62, a well-regarded City of Sydney parking ranger, took his own life and the case has been referred to the Coroner’s Office.

He was found dead at his Waterloo home on June 22, a month after emailing Ms Moore, City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone and others to highlight allegations of corruption, plummeting morale, high sick leave and staff turn- over in the unit.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal another former ranger expressed similar concerns in a 2014 resignation letter to Ms Barone.

Mr Lim’s May 17 email had 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.”

He outlined fears he would be disciplined for raising his concerns. Ms Barone replied, acknowledging the issue was serious but also admonishing Mr Lim for the way he raised his complaints.

Ms Moore initially suggested Mr Lim died of natural causes. Her statement, late last week, was based on conversations with Mr Lim’s family which City of Sydney staff appear not to have immediately verified.

“Clover Moore’s complete indifference to this man’s suffering and welfare is on display by her failure to make inquiries with the responsible authority in this matter, that being the NSW Coroner,” said Councillor Edward Mandla, who has demanded Ms Moore stand aside pending an investigation.

It emerged yesterday that City of Sydney knew about Mr Lim’s death on the day his body was found. He was on long-service leave and attended a meeting with union and senior management staff to discuss his grievances. He was also offered free counselling.

“We are saddened at the passing of a friend and colleague,” a council spokesman said. A minute’s silence was observed at last night’s full council meeting.

City of Sydney has known about allegations of bullying, harassment and intimidation in the ranger unit since at least 2012 but has failed to address a wave of concerns.

Fresh evidence of those problems emerged in the form of the former ranger’s 2014 resignation letter to Ms Barone, which revealed allegations the department was run by “spiteful, dishonest, inept management”.

The letter goes on to say: “I have personally never worked in such an unhappy and septic work environment in my 24 years in the workforce.”

Ms Moore has backtracked on the nature of Mr Lim’s death and City of Sydney now describes the cause of death as “not yet determined”.

The council has implemented recommendations on the unit from its 2012 Warfield report, which it has only released in heavily redacted copies.

Dossier of Despair

May 17, 2015: Leong Lim emails Clover Moore (bottom), Monica Barone and others to highlight concerns.

May 19: Ms Barone responds, acknowledging the issue but admonishing Mr Lim.

June 17-22: Mr Lim believed to have taken his own life between these dates.

June 22: Mr Lim is found dead at his home in Waterloo.

June 25: Authoritative sources indicate that Mr Lim died from suspected suicide.

June 25: The Daily Telegraph questions City of Sydney about Mr Lim’s death. It responds, saying Mr Lim’s family advised he died of natural causes.

June 26: The Daily Telegraph publishes details of the case. City of Sydney and Ms Moore reiterate that Mr Lim’s family advised he died of natural causes

June 26: Authoritative sources confirm Mr Lim’s death is being treated as a suspected suicide.

June 26: City of Sydney issues a statement to the Daily Telegraph saying cause of death has “not yet been determined”.

June 29: Fresh allegations emerge of dysfunction within the city’s range unit.

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