Perks for Buller's CE

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by teckel, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/p...uller-and-mount-stirling-20170320-gv1w8w.html

    Mount Buller and Mount Stirling ski resort senior management spent more than $85,000 of public money on international family travel, entertaining friends and staff bonuses and prizes, an investigation by the state's probity watchdog has found.

    A scathing report tabled in Parliament by Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass has also found the board of management chairperson misused the Mount Buller resort by living in publicly owned ski accommodation and allowing family and friends to stay without payment.

    In a further finding, it said the resort's chief executive used taxpayer's money to pay for flights for himself and his family to the United State for what was "primarily" a holiday.

    Jennifer Hutchinson is the chairperson of the Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Resort management board and John Huber is its chief executive.

    The chief executive, who is paid more than $200,000, claimed so-called "research and development" provisions in his contract to assist him with regular travel "to the US for holidays".

    In a withering assessment of this claim, Ms Glass said: "While the charms of a lake house in upstate New York are undeniable, Victorians do not pay taxes to fund public sector employees' private holidays."

    Responding to the to a draft version of the report, the chief executive said: "The remuneration I receive as the CEO falls short of the remuneration I could command elsewhere."

    The report said resort funds had also been used to pay for the resort property manager's family travel and accommodation in the French ski fields for "research and development" purposes.

    "The resort sits on crown land and is managed on behalf of the minister," Ms Glass said.

    "Mt Buller is no one's personal playground; it is public property and its management is the temporary custodian."

    The investigation concluded that more than $30,000 of public money was spent on international family travel, entertaining the chief executive's friends, and the provision of prizes to staff including flights and accommodation to interstate tourist destinations.

    In one email to a former business associate, quoted in the report, the chief executive insisted on offering a former business associate and his family free holiday accommodation.

    "I will be completely offended if you don't let us look after you," the email says. "You tell me the dates that you want to be up and I'll lock something in for the clan. I have a range of apartments."

    The report said a further $49,000 had been spent on staff bonuses "without adequate justification or transparency".

    The investigation was launched after the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission handed over to Ms Glass four protected whistleblower complaints of misuse of public resources by senior management.

    A subsequent allegation against the chairperson found the resort's publicly owned accommodation, which was meant for short stays by board members on official business such as board meetings, had been misused.

    This is not the first time senior government figures have landed in trouble over the state's alpine resorts. In 2007 it was revealed that deputy premier John Thwaites had been given free mountain accommodation at Falls Creek from a board of management appointed by him.

    That followed an Auditor-General's report finding dubious expense claims by senior staff and board members at Victoria's alpine resorts.

    Ms Glass has now recommended a sweeping overhaul of the governance arrangements for all five of the state's ski resorts.

    She has also recommended that the Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Resort chief executive repay the cost of US flights (which he has agreed to do), and that the property manager repay the cost of the trip to France (which he has not yet agreed to do).

    "There is a sound argument that a publicly owned tourist resort should embrace the best of the private sector when appropriate," Ms Glass said. "But it must also never forget that it is not a private business. It has a responsibility to the public when it comes to spending the public's money."

    The opposition leader Matthew Guy called for a police investigation.

    "Those matters are a disgrace. If there are people who have been abusing the system of taxpayers' funds to that extent than they should be referred to Victoria Police," he said.
     
  2. Madski

    Madski Active Member

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    If they haven't resign they should all be sacked!

    No wonder rates / cost have been increasing well above CPI.

    They need to investigate the MMBL Taxi monopoly as well. Can you imagine the kick backs that have been going on for years.
     
  3. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave Dedicated Member

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    Not condoning, but the amounts seem like small fry compared to what some pollies claim as overseas study junkits.

    The most interesting thing I read in this article is that the report was commissioned after "four protected whistleblower complaints of misuse of public resources by senior management."
     
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  4. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

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    Four protected whistle-blower complaints = pissed off ex-employees of the RMB.
     
  5. Seth

    Seth Old And Crusty
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    Is anyone surprised?

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Madski

    Madski Active Member

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    The other interesting comment is the way bonus are paid.

    What concern me it not just O/S travel that was the issue. It was salary payments, functions, resort accomodation used by others, payments for personal expenses.

    All the way from the board down.
     
  7. Madski

    Madski Active Member

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    Nope. Everyone has said this has been going on for years.

    The lot should be sacked and administrator put in place ASAP.
     
  8. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    It's an independent ombudsman's report, not a report by whistle-blowers.
     
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  9. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

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    Yes correct! It's an independent ombudsman report, which investigated the complaints of four protected whistle-blowers who were pissed off ex-employees of the RMB.
     
  10. Seth

    Seth Old And Crusty
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    Yeah, that's it.

    Meanwhile in the real world.

    it's a report of what was actually done. How is that not a problem?

    regardless of how the ombudsman found out.
     
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  11. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    So it's OK to rort the system if only the whistle-blowers complain about it? Rorting is rorting.
     
  12. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

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    What are you on about? I never said that anywhere! Of course it's not OK........

    I was just stating that the whistle-blowers were ex employees - that it.
     
  13. Hully

    Hully Dedicated Member

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    Just because they are ex-employees does not make their allegations in-valid. I did note in your post on this on another sub-forum that current RMB employees were down playing it because they were ex-employees.
    I know of another RMB where employees that raised concerns to the board within the responsibility of their roles within the organisation were 'made redundant'. Remaining managers that were happy to operate in, and continue to foster, a culture of bullying and corruption used similar language when writing off the concerns that were raised.
     
  14. tele-whippet

    tele-whippet beard stroker
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    Whoa ----- and looks like they wangled free upgrades to tele gear ------ crafty winners :evil:
     
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  15. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    OK then. How is that relevant? And you used the words 'pissed off' in relation to them. Further, the article does not state they were ex employees. Do you know something we don't?
     
  16. RTL

    RTL Active Member

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    Agree on both
     
  17. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    Interesting that he stated the salary he is paid is much less than what he could command elsewhere.

    I wonder if these perks were offered to him on the side as unwritten perks to avoid the employer having to pay FBT?
     
  18. TOFF

    TOFF Old And Crusty
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    If so, ATO would be very interested too.
     
  19. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    Definitely

    Dodgy deals are sweet until you get caught
     
  20. TOFF

    TOFF Old And Crusty
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    This X 1000000000000
     
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  21. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    Let's assume that wasn't the case. So why did he take the job? Presumably for the lifestyle. So, suck it up.
     
  22. Conners

    Conners Dedicated Member
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    No matter if it's unwritten, it's a Travel benefit and subject to FBT.
    If you apply the rules as the ATO read them (and they surprise surprise are pretty narrow) study/promotion etc are reasonably difficult to substantiate unless legit.
    Tax office got wise to that crap decades ago
     
  23. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

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    I never said they were invalid. I just said - The whistle blowers were pissed off ex-employees. I was implying nothing else than that.
    I know a couple of people who work in the RMB who filled me in on the story.
    This is outrageous, he shouldn't have taken the job if he was unsatisfied with the salary!
     
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  24. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    So the board are casting aspersions on those who dobbed them in? Surprise, surprise. Why not admit they were wrong, and pay the money back? Or better still, resign. Before they're sacked.
     
  25. Madski

    Madski Active Member

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    They have been served with show cause notice so should happen next week!

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vi...s/news-story/d64ce3ec43771a04f9767228ad1f30cd

    "Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said last night she had issued a legal “show cause” notice to senior management implicated asking “why they should not be removed from their current positions”.

    If they fail to provide adequate responses within a week, they are likely to be sacked."
     
  26. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    In another thread @Timmossy said:
    I just spoke to somebody in the RMB about it who is of the belief that all are innocent and it's just disgruntled ex employees making false statements.

    You know, there's a money trail on these matters. For them to claim innocence is flippin' unbelievable. Sack 'em.
     
  27. Madski

    Madski Active Member

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    Gees the whole board might even go.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/buller-resort-ombudsmans-report/8370726

    "The actions and the lapses in judgement and oversight, detailed in this report, fall well short of the expected standards," she said.

    "For the sake of procedural fairness the chair and all board members will need to show cause why they should not be removed from their current positions."

    They might have to speed up implementing the review of all the RMBs
     
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  28. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    As for the chair, she initially got job on Lake Mountain RMB even though she had no interest in XC skiing, only downhill. As soon as there was an opening on the Buller RMB she couldn't get out of LM fast enough. In other words, she used LM to pursue her personal goal of getting on the Buller RMB.
     
  29. Hully

    Hully Dedicated Member

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    Not saying you said it....but clearly your connections within the Buller Stirling ARMB are suggesting their concerns are invalid.
     
  30. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

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    You're reading too much into it.
     
  31. Hully

    Hully Dedicated Member

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    Not reading into it at all....this is what you said on the other thread, "I just spoke to somebody in the RMB about it who is of the belief that all are innocent and it's just disgruntled ex employees making false statements."
     
  32. Hully

    Hully Dedicated Member

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    The RMBs have demonstrated an obsession with recruiting corporate 'high fliers' for their CEO roles who take the roles for the perks, whether they be free travel to overseas ski resorts, the opportunity for their kids to spend a couple of seasons in Race Club or the opportunity for their family to experience living in a ski resort for a few years. The reality is that CEO of a Victorian ski resort is not a highlight on an Executive CV or a stepping stone to greater things. In fact in the Business Age on Saturday the previous CEO at FCRM did not even mention his 5 years at Falls Creek in a fluffy exec profile story.
     
  33. Madski

    Madski Active Member

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    Just found a copy of the report online. Interesting read.

    https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/getattachment/34b6bb85-7040-47ed-a028-eff6ff3f60f9

    Few points of note.

    ` The property managers child travelled separately to France for a study trip paid for by the RMB
    ` The CEO was using RMB accomodation for his friends and family to stay at for free
    ` The catering for RMB function was paid to a company the CEO wife was assoctied with
     
  34. Timmossy

    Timmossy Active Member

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    I was purely repeating their words - I didn't realise it was so hard to contribute on this forum. Time to close the account and be more productive elsewhere it seems.
     
  35. travelislife

    travelislife Dedicated Member
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    The language in that report from the CEO and board chair is horrendous. So much 'I wasn't aware', using ignorance as an excuse in those positions should not be allowable. At the end of the day it is an ethics test, and from reading it they haven't passed!
     
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  36. travelislife

    travelislife Dedicated Member
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    OMG! Read item 145, unbelievable, just making stuff up!

    And the bullshit in 169. Using taxpayer funded apartments for his friends week long ski holidays, how do they think this is ok? Because their excuses make it sound like they think it's ok!
     
    #36 travelislife, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  37. Hully

    Hully Dedicated Member

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    I'm not criticising you at all, I'm only trying to contribute myself. None of my comments about the reaction to the whistleblowers are directed at you. I acknowledge you are just repeating their words and believe you 100%....I have heard the exact same language regarding allegations at another RMB.
     
  38. gaz35

    gaz35 Active Member

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    not sure how that removes the FBT obligation. The benefit was paid. Who cares if it was written down or not. FBT is normally the last thing these guys worry about - someone else pays that
     
    #38 gaz35, Mar 21, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  39. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    If its not recorded, or recorded as a business expense then FBT wont be calculated.

    If someone uses the bosses carparking space at work, FBT is applicable but I'm sure it rarely gets paid
     
  40. BawBawSkier

    BawBawSkier Active Member

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    The Buller people will be most annoyed that the Ombudsmans report has been published
    When Baw Baws CEO was investigated by Deloites for much the same things the report was highly redacted to the point that some pages resembled the inside of a cows guts and the Ceo was allowed to resign with a substantial settlement
     
  41. Gayjin

    Gayjin Just Registered

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    Why do we accept and pay for this nonsense?
    My Buller is a very small town.
    The average base depth throughout the season is 32 cm.
    In Japan and the United states many similar sized towns get more than 6 metres a year. No big drama.

    There is no logical reason not to clear most of the roads and allow guests to park on their own leasehold. without paying for the privilege.
    To expect visitors to park miles away, to unload their family into the back of a Troopy and be bounced all over the mountain in the dark is bizarre.
    No other nationality would allow themselves to be treated like this
     
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  42. benchives

    benchives Part of the Furniture
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    Duck has a saying

    Snouts I the trough
     
  43. gaz35

    gaz35 Active Member

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    somehow I think trips to America would be recorded - but I could be wrong
     
  44. telecrag

    telecrag Part of the Furniture
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    Last time I looked, $200K was pretty good, for a public servant?

    If he could command more elsewhere, why wasnt he, and how is that any kind of explanation? Id suggest he should be looking for a job, and should not be paid any entitlements. And should also be looking getting a lawyer to defend against charges.

    I am willing to take the job for $150K, no frills.
     
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  45. Hully

    Hully Dedicated Member

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    You can't be doing that....you've got the 50 odd kms of Falls to Hotham walking track to upgrade for $12million. :D
     
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  46. telecrag

    telecrag Part of the Furniture
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    Shhh, its going to be multi use, walkers probably wont want to use it anyway.
     
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  47. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    You are missing the point.

    If senior management secretly agreed to record it as a business trip, knowing well that it was private, then they would be avoiding the FBT
     
  48. iagreewithhim

    iagreewithhim Dedicated Member

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    This seems to be a good example of the folly of having a commercial enterprise on public land run by a government or quasi-government agency, who is effectively both the operator and the regulator. The result is almost always overpricing, under-servicing, lack of competition and poor management. If a competent private company was running the show, how long do you reckon this guy would have got away with these sort of rorts?
    My suggestion: Lease the resort (and the other Vic resorts) to private operators at a reasonable commercial rate (like they do in NSW). The lessee will then be responsible for attracting customers in competition with the other resorts, charging rates that customers are willing to pay, and making a profit. There is no better means than the budget bottom line for maintaining a lean, efficient operation focussed on customer satisfaction and profit rather than feathering the nests of managers.
    Let the hate mail commence!
     
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  49. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
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    Not from this quarter. Anything has to be better than the continued abuse of position that has emanated from the Vic resorts in the last decade. OTOH, suggesting that private enterprises could do a better job than govt appointed boards would be an anathema to the current state govt.
     
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  50. telecrag

    telecrag Part of the Furniture
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    Just thinking about it, I think its fair enough. Like our pollies, these guys just dont get paid enough, so they should be able to take whatever they can get away with, its only fair. And so should everyone. We should all be trying to rip off each other, thats how you make society great again!
     
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