Gore District Council has hit back at recent public criticism ahead of tomorrow’s consideration of a public petition calling for Chief Executive, Stephen Parry’s resignation.
“Over recent weeks Gore District Council staff have been subject to a barrage of allegations and criticism. In the newspaper, on television and even when socialising, staff are confronted by questions and accusations,” the Council said in an online statement.
“The allegations have been extremely hurtful and stressful, yet staff have continued to act professionally and serve their community to the best of their ability.”
The Council says it cannot and would not comment on issues of employment relating to past or present employees. It would also be inappropriate to speculate about the motivation behind recent allegations, it said.
The Council said it was, however, important to acknowledge that: “There is a distinct difference between performance management and systemic bullying in the workplace” and said, “No complaints of bullying by former dissatisfied staff against the Council have been upheld”.
“As with any workplace – from small businesses to large corporations – there can be disharmony, even conflict. It would be naive to believe this hasn’t been the case at the Council,” the Council statement reads.
“The strength of an organisation is how it learns from these situations to build a cohesive, inclusive workplace.”
Council says that in a GoreDC staff survey last year, 75% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, ‘My organisation has effective governance and leadership in health and safety‘ and that during the Chief Executive’s appraisal process, the question ‘GDC is a good place to work’ scored 4.5 out of 5.
Council says the following unsolicited comments sent to the Chief Executive and senior staff were a testament to the culture at the Council.
“In my time at the Council, I have always found you to be a wise and inspirational leader. I think it would be fair to say it is unlikely that I would still be working for the Council if it wasn’t for the support and guidance you have given me over the years. The allegations of a toxic work environment and bullying couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“I just want to say for what it’s worth, you have been (and continue to be) a very supportive boss and as many of us know, this place would not be the great place it is if it weren’t for you and your hard work over many years.”
“The current senior leadership team is great. They are all really approachable, and I know that if my GM is busy, any other would be happy to listen to a query and help me if I needed it, which is really genuine. A united and kind team at the top has great flow-on effects for everyone underneath and makes the work environment enjoyable.”
On Tuesday, Council will consider a petition calling for CE, Stephen Parry’s resignation. An online petition calling for Mr Parry’s resignation closed with 4,858 signatures.