Over the many years of my work in corruption investigations, I've delved into many, many councils in New South Wales. And so I have a treasure trove of tales of corruption to draw upon - local government is an incredibly fertile ground for naughtiness! I certainly use some of what I've seen to inspire my fiction writing, but some tales are so stellar that they warrant joining this blog of factual history! These are the stories which are not fictionalized, aside from being anonymized.
These things happened!!!
Here's the first of them, and it's an absolute pearler!
This is a tale of Nepotism Central.
I had a complaint in a council about the recruitment process for the HR Manager (of all positions!).
So, the background was this: the HR Manager's position had been vacant for some time, with an HR Officer (Person X) acting in the position. Nothing unusual so far. This acting person (Person X) was very much in favour with the council's general manager and executive - basically did their bidding, and had a very "close", and I mean "very close" (saliva involved, me thinks), relationship with one of the executive who was going to sit on the selection panel for this recruitment. (The general manager also ended up sitting on the selection panel, along with two other executive members.) Again, whilst starting to get a little distasteful, and a little issue of a potential conflict of interest, nothing here is unusual in government circles.
So the vacant position was then advertised - but internally only.
Wait till you see how much this job was paying! Read on!
The council's recruitment policy said that if recruitment was to be internal only, there had to be a "pool" of suitable applicants. Person X, who was applying for the position, went to one of their staff and told them to apply as well, so that there would be a "pool" of applicants, namely two of them. To the credit of that staff member, they refused to comply.
So, the recruitment process still progressed with just the application of Person X. So much for a "pool". How does one person constitute a "pool"? Go figure. Clearly, the council's own policy counted for nothing, since Person X was definitely wanted for the job.
But the real "get me the fuck out of here" moment is yet to come.
The "essential criteria" for the position, those things you just have to have to be eligible, included "relevant tertiary qualifications".
Now, Person X had NO relevant tertiary qualifications, absolutely none.
A major problem, you would think?
Aha! Never underestimate the audacity of the corrupt in government. Never, ever.
So, the applications closed for this recruitment - only one application - from Person X. The idea of a "pool" was long gone. And Person X did not meet the essential criteria for the job.
No problem at all, for this council and its executives - three of them! After the applications closed, the only applicant, Person X, was interviewed for the job. After that, and already acting in the position, Person X was allowed to rewrite the position description, for the position they were applying for, to remove the essential criteria they could not meet.
Then, two days later, Person X was appointed to the job, now that they could meet the criteria for the job.
I don't think, in all my years, I've ever seen such a brazen example of corrupt nepotism anywhere.
And as if the above isn't bad enough...
And guess what the position was paying...
Yes, that's right. Nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, and this is the corrupt recruitment process that enabled it.
Aside from the obscene iniquity of it all, I do feel sorry for the ratepayers in that council area. Especially since, on all accounts, Person X wasn't even any good as an HR practitioner.
So, $230,000 p.a. when you can't even meet the essential criteria for the job.
Not bad fucking work if you can get it!
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