Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mayor Mullet does a Mal Brough with some third party urging in her continuing attack on TCC CEO Ray Burton. But has she been too clever by half?

One thing is for sure – Jenny Hill’s vaulting ego is bringing Townsville into disrepute big time.

Take time to consider the following statement. It’s an excerpt from an email sent by Ray Burton to councilors on Tuesday morning, an email replying to disparaging remarks from Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland quoted in The Bulletin that morning.

Quote: ‘One thing is certain – my reputation has now been damaged to the point where I would have difficulty getting a job in any other local government, even if I wanted to.’ Unquote

What, The ‘Pie hears you ask, is that swishing sound? Folks, that’s the sound of Townsville City Council CEO Ray Burton starting to unlace the gloves he appears about to pull off.

This grubby tale of mayoral hubris and self-interest - more befitting of a suburban Labor branch back-biting power struggle than the community’s top civic body - deserves a mid-week Magpie, and it’s here at   

Ray Burton was clearly amazed, disheartened and angered by Jenny Hill’s latest underhand attack on him – it seems she did a Mal Brough, urging a third party to make damaging statements of dubious authenticity to score media points against someone she sees as an opponent. And, brazenly taking us all for mugs, she all the while is standing to one side, ingenuously swinging a foot, whistling and looking at the ceiling with a clear ‘nuthin’ to do wif me, mate’ attitude. Yeah, sure, Jen.

Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland
Mayor Mullet admitted that she had paid two recent visits to meet with Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland, but refused to say what they’d discussed. Oh, come on, me old Mullet, share with us the wisdom you were seeking from someone you’ve probably never hitherto heard of. You could hardly have the hots for each other. Especially since Mr Sutherland is a former LNP member but now independent. A refusal to share those touching, intimate political moments with us is hardly surprising but their clear purpose sticks out like a canine’s reproductive orbs. 

All the disparaging remarks were claims that Ray Burton was sacked for refusing to fire staff.

This in itself appears to be an impossibility coincidental and a too-clever-by-half scenario dreamt up to suit an anti-Burton push by The Mullet and her PR arm, The Daily Astonisher. 

Because you see, Ray Burton, like any other Queensland council CEO, COULD NOT - BY LAW - sack any existing staff for the three years after amalgamation.

And all this is compounded by the mysterious way the matter came to the attention of the Daily Astonisher. 

Lies all round on just about all aspects of this matter. At the risk of doubling the paper’s readership figures, read the story here for yourself.

Now the question is: can the lawyers be far away? Pretty damn close, one would think, given the tone and clear refutation of statements made by Mayor Sutherland, a man who mysteriously has taken a sudden interest in a local government area 1500kms to the north.  Ray Burton was briefly Moreton Bay CEO post-amalgamation.

While it is normally discourteous – sometimes illegal – to print emails not sent directly to you, The ‘Pie will dust off Tuesday’s full Burton email – undamaged in its fall from the back of a truck - in the interests of this community being fully informed of what happens when the highest office in the city falls to someone prone to a extended juvenile temper tantrum.

QUOTE: ‘Councillors,
This is becoming repetitive and annoying and consuming far too much of my private and work time.
Two points to make re today’s Bulletin:
1    My departure from Moreton Bay Regional Council was similar to that of many CEOs after amalgamations where the incoming new Council preferred a fresh face (the same thing happened here in Townsville). It is true that the majority of councillors at Moreton did not support my staying on as CEO, but this had nothing to do with any discussions on staff numbers.
2.   I had no discussions with Moreton Bay Regional Council concerning staff numbers – I was only at Moreton Bay Regional council 2 weeks after the council had been sworn in and hah had no discussion with the Mayor or any councillors concerning staff numbers increasing or decreasing as a result of amalgamation.
One thing is certain – my reputation has now been damaged to the point where I would have difficulty getting a job in any other local government even if I wanted to.
I will continue, as I had always intended, to fulfill my role as Townsville City Council CEO to the best of my ability and with the highest level of professionalism and ethics.

Sorry, Ray, The 'Pie knows you get a bit thermo-nuclear when the old bird comes across and publicises these things, but it really is in the interests of Townsville for this to be sorted.

The CMC is yet to have its say on the issue of whether Mr Burton illegally or unethically withheld from the mayor a consultant’s report recommending inter alia wholesale sackings of staff to save money. He himself referred those claims to the CMC for adjudication.

The outcome, either way, will be interesting, but not that interesting that the whole thing could become tedious.

And what is the murky role The Townsville Bulletin is playing in this destabilising attack on our community? One thing is now irrefutable ; The Astonisher no longer wants to be an observer which reports disappassionately, it wants to be an adjectival-laden biased player in our community. That is, until the next wave of FIFO journos and editors descend upon us to sprinkle about the their special pixie dust of superior wisdom.

What a mob of clots all round.

It is almost certain that the latest bit of political prettiness from our sweet and demur mayoress has more than a touch of the Brough technique about it – but in The Mullet’s case, it simply doesn’t make sense and all this jiggery-pokery is bringing herself individually, her office and the city of Townsville into derision and disrepute.

The widely touted idea is to get rid of Ray Burton and replace him with, say, Paul Askern, or someone more in tune with Mayor Mullet’s questionable vision for her own little Mulletville. That’s never going to happen with this council - they will simply vote for who they want, and already have confirmed Ray Burton's position, so for Christ sake, and ours, get over yourself, gal, Ray’s been reaffirmed anyway.

It was suggested to The ‘Pie that the council majority could move a vote of no confidence in the mayor, but on inquiry, that would be pointless in Queensland. In other states, mayors are selected by councillors, and can be replaced if a no confidence vote is successful. But because the mayor is elected by voters in Queensland, no such option exists. If we operated under the more sensible interstate system (yes, folks, they do have SOME better ideas than we do) this strange but workable situation wouldn’t exist.

To top this off, The ‘Pie approached deputy doo-dah Vern Veitch, who, while almost comically wary of talking to The ‘Pie – especially if his dogs aren’t in sight and his holding their leashes heh heh heh – did confirm that now the rates freeze and water rebate have been settled (in the negative) the council’s majority coucillor block is ’95% to 98% on the same wavelength as the mayor’.  

In accidental good timing, that prolific e-mailer 'Anonymous' - without a doubt in this case, an Astonisher reporter - sent in a thundering missive to The 'Pie's site last week, ending his load of hot, steaming old bollocks with a flourish, declaring 'the Office of Mayor must be respected' - his caps.

The 'Pie wholeheartedly agrees - and it will be a sunny day for Townsville when Jenny Hill affords the office – and the Position of the People - that respect.

Alas, that day remains ever distant, if her latest poisonous song and dance routine - in lock step with the Townsville Bulletin - is anything to go by.


  1. Hello Pie,

    How can I send a vote of confidence to Ray Burton to let him know I would like him to stay as I think his is doing a bloody good job?

  2. Jenny Hill should resign from the Council & go live over on Maggie Island. She would have a lot of supporters over there & would be King of the Kids! She should leave Townsville to be run by people who understand how successful businesses are run!!!!
    Go Jenny!!!Go

  3. You can't help feel for Burton having been dragged into this grubby mess by Jenny Hill. It has irrefutably damaged his relationship with her. I just hope he hangs in there and is vindicated by the CMC leaving Mullet high and dry once and for this rate she'll be a one term wonder!

  4. Our Accidental Mayor is, simply put, a duplicitous, sly and narcissistic hugger-mugger. Her conduct is unbecoming of her position.

    The outrageous vendetta being run by her and the Townsville Bulletin against Ray Burton is a gross dereliction of their civic responsibilities.

    Should the obvious bias and disregard for anything like professional journalistic standards be reffered to the Press Council, toothless tiger it may be...??

  5. Be lucky if she makes a full term. Can anyone tell me why Crisafulli has not stepped in yet. What's he scared of? This council is an absolute joke. Jenny Hill is, always has been and always will be a dirty player. Mr Crisafulli, if you read this, please sort it out. For Townsville sake get rid of them all.


    Im amazed that the Astonisher would report the above, but would not report their own asbestos scare in their building.

    1. They never reported their own mass sackings!

  7. We all reap what we sow; the CEO made his own bed when he undermined the mayor and was a driving force behind the "budget amendments" knocking down the Mayor's rate freeze and $103 rebate. One certainly has to go... Which one wasn't elected by the people? Public servants are supose to be impartial in conducting their duties. Crisafulli wasnt a fan of Mr Burton either so he's probably enjoying the butting of heads going on. Jenny's got my vote. Time to jump ship Mr Burton.

  8. Dear 'Pie, posted this in the Astonisher today re: Mullet's sacrificial HSV. Love your work, Baz.

    Love to see the ad for the HSV, "Used HSV, gearbox service needed as stuck in reverse, wheel alignment required as tends to drift to the left when stressed, new muffler needed as exhaust is obnoxious and drone-ful, tune up neccesary to add refinement, original shine looking faded and worn, discount petrol vouchers given to lucky buyer (*not legally binding*), suggest industrial strength air freshener on interior to remove lingering odour of spite. Bootful of unused ALP stickers. Reply to Townsville Bulletin on.......".