Farooq gets Farooqed

GM Farooq Portelli and Mayor Ned Mannoun in happier times

GM Farooq Portelli and Mayor Ned Mannoun in happier times

If you choose to live by the sword, you die by the sword. What a great biblical reference (Matthew 26:52, if you would like to check) and one where Wikipedia helpfully provides a non-literal interpretation, “if you use violence, or other harsh means, against other people, you can expect to have those same means used against you.”
 
So, true to those ancient words, no one should have been too surprised to see the Liverpool GM get Farooqed himself.
 
As a reminder, it was only in 2012/13 that the local government unions were brawling with Liverpool City Council over their plan to spill their director and manager jobs, make some people redundant and employ the new second and third levels of management as senior staff under the Local Government Act on the dreadful statutory senior staff contract. Easier to sack people that way.
 
During the course of the dispute, Liverpool Mayor Councillor Ned Mannoun confessed at a UDIA breakfast that they didn’t want to waste time performance managing duds out of the place, because “that can take up to 18 months”, so putting people on the term contract mandated by the DLG meant they could just get rid of people whenever they wanted, without even having to explain why and the payout to sack GMs not performing badly is only 38 weeks’ pay.
 
Regrettably, a timid Judge of the IRC rejected our request to require the Mayor to come and say those same things in the Commission as part of the proceedings in the dispute. After all, GM Portelli hadn’t been game enough to confess what we all knew to be true.
 
We last covered developments at Liverpool in our March 2013 issue (which included the picture of the GM and the Mayor above) but things didn’t really go too well for Farooq after that. Running battles with the councillors followed for the remainder of the year and the Mayor tried unsuccessfully to sack him in December.
 
Rumours were flying in early March and on 1 April the Sydney Morning Herald revealed all under the heading “Senior public servants sacked without explanation”. 
 
You almost have to feel sorry for Farooq. His venal and punitive approach to setting up people on employment contracts who can be removed with no checks or balances created a dangerous precedent that would make more people vulnerable to unfair treatment - and his sacking by Liverpool made him the ninth GM sacked because of politics after the local government elections two years ago.
 
Former Labor Mayor Wendy Waller criticised the way things had gone and said “the Mayor basically gave a testimonial in regards to the general manager’s performance, yet it’s his mayoral minute that basically cancels the contract”.
 
“So I think “hypocritical” is the only word I see as being appropriate.”
 
Karma is a more appropriate word. If you use harsh means against others, expect them to happen to you.
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