ACT public servant allegedly harassed staff for money, nude photos
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ACT public servant allegedly harassed staff for money, nude photos

A former ACT public servant quit after it was alleged she harassed a subordinate for tens of thousands of dollars and nude pictures, it can be revealed.

The supervisor allegedly borrowed $30,000 from one staff member.

The supervisor allegedly borrowed $30,000 from one staff member.

The ex-City Services directorate supervisor was accused of using her position to bully staff into giving her money, documents obtained by The Canberra Times under freedom of information laws show.

She was also accused of asking a subordinate member of staff to text her naked photos of himself and allegedly offered sexual favours as a means of obtaining further loans.

The investigation was one of six adverse findings of corruption made against Transport Canberra and City Services directorate staff in 2017-18.

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Meeting notes from October 2016 state the supervisor approached a colleague for money in early September 2016, saying she’d applied for a house but didn’t have bond money.

While she didn’t directly ask for money, the supervisor told the colleague she needed $1200. The colleague said she didn’t have the money but would see what could be done with respect to a bond loan through housing. She also warned the supervisor that she should not be approaching work colleagues for money.

It later emerged the supervisor had a similar conversation with two other colleagues. She had asked them for $1600 and said the money was for rent.

The meeting notes said: "It appeared the [redacted] targeted new staff and asked them for a small amount of money for petrol or lunch. She would pay this money back then start asking for larger sums".

Another colleague gave the supervisor $500, which she said she would pay back the next day.

However the supervisor did not turn up to work the next day or the following Friday and Monday.

When the colleague asked for the money back on Tuesday, the supervisor told her she would only get some back. She eventually repaid the money in instalments after being repeatedly asked for it.

However the colleague that gave it to her was “now scared to put anything in writing as she believes she will get in trouble with her job because [the staff member] is her supervisor”, the meeting record said.

Another colleague also loaned the supervisor $2000 in September 2016.

The colleague received a message through Facebook and several calls from the supervisor, saying “please sister I have been caught by police and need to pay a fine, promise to pay back on 5th September”.

The colleague recouped $500 in October, with promises of $500 each fortnight.

Another colleague gave the supervisor about $30,000.

The woman allegedly asked the man for the first loan on Mother's Day and called and messaged him repeatedly until he said yes.

“[Redacted] said he had told her he was looking for a wife and this started her continuing to ring him and bugging for nude photos to be sent by text," the meeting record said.

The man was later contacted by his bank, advising him his account had been overdrawn. The man's keycard was missing and he believed the supervisor had it.

While the supervisor paid him back $400, once he said he would not give her any more money, she blocked him on Facebook and refused to answer his calls. She also ostracised him at work.

The supervisor denied borrowing money when confronted with the allegations in late October 2016.

She was placed on leave without pay on November 1, 2016.

A letter from City Services deputy director-general Jim Corrigan said her suspension was "in the best interest of the directorate".

"I have formed this view on the basis of the amount of money you are alleged to have borrowed from more than one staff member, and the alleged use of authority as a supervisor in respect to influencing these staff," Mr Corrigan wrote.

On November 15, the supervisor tendered her resignation “due to unforeseen reasons”.

“I wish that I could stay longer but at this stage I have to move on," the email, also obtained under freedom of information, said.

“I am saddened that it has come to this but life goes on and am sure there will be a company that will appreciate my service."

The allegations were not the only matters dealt with last financial year.

There was also an investigation into a project manager who asked for a $100,000 kickback in exchange for giving a contractor more work.

The matter was also referred to police and the man was convicted of bribery in October. His employment was terminated in May, the documents show.

In January 2018, another City Services employee was given a formal warning and a fine of $250 after he admitted to using an ACT government vehicle to attend four hours of soccer in Kaleen while on shift.

The man was also alleged to have falsified his attendance record for the day, meaning he was paid for hours he did not work, and was accused of being "dishonest in your response to management" when asked why he was there.

While the employee said he was completing paperwork at the soccer fields, and his behaviour was consistent with his usual practices, a written warning for misconduct dated February 2 stated the man: "demonstrated a lack of integrity and engaged in behaviour that has the potential to adversely affect the reputation of the [directorate]".

Another employee lost his job in March after a series of allegations against him were substantiated, however the details of the accusations were redacted to protect his identity.

The man was said to have "engaged in behaviour that is dishonest and fraudulent on more than one occasion" and "failed to follow a direction and engaged in behaviour that had the potential to adversely affect the health and safety of others".

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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