A matter of opinion

A FORMER Queanbeyan City Council employee says he was driven to resign from his job when senior staff took offence to a letter he sent to The Queanbeyan Age in November and officially reprimanded him for it.

Community bus driver Neil Daniel had worked in his role for over three years when he publicly expressed an opinion on the car parking situation in the Woolworths area.

He was sanctioned for his letter to the Age (reprinted below) in which he criticised "the ability of our councillors and the QCC planners." He resigned from his job the following month, saying he'd had enough of his "petty and inward looking" employer.

"Apparently, according to the code of conduct I'm not supposed to be negative about the Council, put it that way. But I didn't think it was negative, I thought it was just an opinion. It was aimed at nobody in particular; it was a general comment," Mr Daniel said.

"Their opinion was that letter brought the councillors and council staff into disrepute," he said.

Mr Daniel said the subsequent reprimand prompted him to resign. He has restated his views on the subject in another letter to the editor in today's Age (page 12).

"That was the final moment. I just had enough. It was over nothing, and it was just all so petty," he said.

However a Council spokesperson said Mr Daniel, like all Council staff, was obliged to uphold the code of conduct.

"All staff employed by Queanbeyan City Council are required to sign and abide by Council's Code of Conduct. Any behaviour which is contrary to this Code of Conduct is assessed and dealt with as required," the spokesperson said.

"Upon commencement at Queanbeyan City Council all new staff attend a four-day induction program which includes information on the Code of Conduct and what is not acceptable behaviour by staff. Earlier in 2012, all Council staff were invited to Code of Conduct refresher training.

"Mr Daniel's letter to the Queanbeyan Age was a breach of Council Code of Conduct and he was reprimanded accordingly. Mr Daniel then chose to resign after another incident that involved a serious breach of Council's internet policy.

"Council is unable to comment any further on the nature of dealings with Mr Daniel as this is matter between Council and Mr Daniel," the spokesperson said.

Mr Daniel told the Queanbeyan Age that he'll miss his old job, which entailed driving the sick, elderly and disabled to appointments.

"I loved my job. Just the people I worked with, the people I transported ... it was great.

There was a lot of older people that I enjoyed being with, talking to, hearing their life stories- that sort of stuff.

"It was nice doing things for them, helping them out. I really enjoyed it," he said.

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Neil Daniel's November letter to The Queanbeyan Age

In the 'On this day' section of the Age, November 9, was a paragraph about a GJ Coles store opening in November 1972. Part of the article said that it opened onto a Council carpark capable of holding over 200 cars.

Here we are 40 years later opening a new Kmart with no extra car parking.

That's after allowing the GP Super clinic to expand with no extra car parking and around the corner we allowed the post office, again with no extra parking.

Says a lot about the ability of our councillors and the QCC planners doesn't it.

Neil Daniel,

Queanbeyan

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