Following an extensive investigation by the VEXNEWS Investigations Unit and the Herald Sun’s ace investigative journalist Peter Rolfe last year, the all-powerful Casey council CEO Mike Tyler, the second-highest paid local government bureaucrat in Victoria, has been charged with criminal offences relating to a sexual harassment scandal.
The story that has caused all the carnage is here: NEAR FATAL ATTRACTION: Powerful Casey council boss Mike Tyler’s unwanted sexual attentions nearly drove council worker to suicide and Peter Rolfe’s excellent coverage here Casey Council in secret deal over harassment complaint
Please note at the end of the article, miffed Mike Tyler had organised vexatious complaints to the Press Council, which took issue with describing the nation’s most dysfunctional cowboy council that way but did not fault the high-quality investigative work of the journalist, known for his thoroughness, accuracy and persistence.
There is little genuine dispute that Casey’s municipal council is the most dysfunctional in Victoria and, probably, in the nation. It is a “cowboy” council, indeed, it is the butt of many jokes about dysfunction, shamelessness and corruption.
In describing the recent shenanigans in Spring Street, Rolfe’s colleague James Campbell explained to an intrigued audience of ABC listeners munching on their quinoa salads over lunch that some of the Liberal party room might not be the sharpest tools in the shed:
Imagine Casey Council comes to Spring Street, this is what a lot of these people are.
The abuse of trust and power allegations of criminal wrongdoing go right to the heart of whether Tyler can continue as council boss, concerned locals told VEXNEWS Monday. Despite this, the Herald Sun today reveals that the council is refusing to stand down Tyler. For now.
Tyler last year was revealed to have serially sexually harassed a female employee in such a serious way that she contemplated suicide. VEXNEWS heard many reports at the time of Tyler engaging in similarly inappropriate behaviours suggestive of what critics called a “God complex” which meant he could do anything he wanted in the council.
It was also revealed that then Casey council mayor Lorraine Wreford, now a state MP, aided Tyler’s cover-up of the scandal which involved a secret payment of tens of thousands of ratepayer dollars to the victim and considerable legal expenses after she sued.
No public apology has ever been made to the victim by Tyler despite these matters coming to light last year.
Tyler has also been involved in other worrying governance and environmental scandals including poisoning many hundreds of residents of one housing estate with a dangerously unsafe municipal landfill and vast expenditure on a football club, radio station and lavish CEO salary package.
Leading the charge in bringing the crooked Casey council boss to justice was former Police officer and councillor Kevin Bradford, who had been a systematic target of lurid public attacks by Tyler’s puppets on the council including Mercedes driving Customs official and then mayor Sam Aziz. Bradford, a popular Labor moderate in the area, must be left feeling thoroughly vindicated after some very tough years standing up to the bullying Tyler who had targeted Bradford for daring to question his edicts.
Tyler, aside from regarding his female staff as some kind of feudal entitlement, has long played a very sinister role on the council, manipulating councillors behind the scenes, playing one off against the other and attempting to rule the roost in a manner utterly inconsistent with the idea of a local community electing local councillors to make local decisions. Many council CEOs attempt to emulate Sir Humphrey Appleby, Tyler’s approach was more like Mugabe with his abuse of power, self-indulgence, threats and bullying.
The egocrat has been in his CEO position so long he actually predated the Casey council’s existence. He’s been running it from the get-go. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupted absolutely.
PARTY OF ONE
Some figured, because he was nice to a few Liberal councillors, that Tyler was a Liberal, the truth was is that he was a big-taxing-and-spending out-of-control bureaucrat who didn’t care about party politics, just power and mega-salary for himself. With Tyler chum Aziz sidelined and extremely unhappy about it, that power is waning, many believe. One long-time council observer said:
“He’ll (Tyler will) be gone by Christmas, whether there’s a guilty finding or not. He’s had a long innings but has been caught out by this, it’s exposed how he really operates.”
We make no comment on the criminal charges Tyler faces but the Casey Weekly makes it clear that the council has little choice but stand Tyler aside pending resolution of the matters and boning him in the event that he is found guilty of the offences.
VEXNEWS understands a majority of the council are no longer fully compliant with Tyler’s wishes and will take a very dim of view of retaining Tyler’s services in the event of a guilty verdict. Local government sources have explained that it would be unprecedented for a local council to retain a CEO found guilty of criminal breaches of the Local Government Act.
CASEY WEEKLY EXCLUSIVE: Casey CEO Mike Tyler charged
By Catherine Watson
CASEY chief executive officer Mike Tyler has been charged with two breaches of the Local Government Act for failing to notify the mayor and council of a conflict of interest in a matter for which he had authority.
Mr Tyler has been summonsed to appear in the Dandenong Magistrates Court on April 18.
The maximum penalty for each offence is about $16,900.
The charges arise from an investigation by the Victorian Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate.
It is alleged that as a consequence of the breach Mr Tyler committed council resources and funds on a matter in which he had a personal interest, without notifying the mayor or council as required under the legislation.
Mr Tyler and the council were named as respondents in a sexual harassment case, made by a former council employee, which was settled in a mediated hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 2011.
A letter from the complainant’s lawyers to then-mayor Lorraine Wreford in 2010 that contained details of the claims was leaked to the media last year. (VEXNEWS: That’d be us)
Ms Wreford, now a Liberal MP, did not tell fellow councillors about the claim.
In April last year, a motion to sack Mr Tyler was defeated 6-5 but councillors voted to refer the matter to the Municipal Association of Victoria for an independent investigation into council’s handling of the claim.
The report, prepared by a solicitor appointed by the MAV, was referred to the Local Government Inspectorate for further action.
A spokeswoman for the Inspectorate said it would make no further comment on the matter before the courts or any other matters involving the council.