Council asks residents not to give gifts for 'job well done'

NO GIFTS: The Southern Downs Regional Council has asked residents not to offer gifts to council staff for a
NO GIFTS: The Southern Downs Regional Council has asked residents not to offer gifts to council staff for a "job well done”. KERRI MOORE

RESIDENTS who feel an overwhelming appreciation for the work done by the Southern Downs Regional Council now have a set of guidelines to consult before they purchase an extravagant gift to express their feelings.

The council today released a statement urging residents not to buy gifts to show appreciation for a "job well done".

It comes just days after allegations of corruption and "beers for the boys" hit the Southern Downs Regional Council, with contractors saying they are being overlooked for jobs if they don't cough up something extra.

Gold Coast holidays, Christmas parties and beers for the boys have all allegedly been offered to help secure a job.

But in this latest statement from the council, it says employees must not ask for or accept benefits other than their official remuneration for performing duties.

The full statement reads:

Southern Downs residents are kindly being reminded to extend their appreciation to Southern Downs Regional Staff for a job well done in person or over the phone, or by penning a letter or email to the mayor or chief executive officer.

Council welcomes positive feedback and expressions of appreciation, however recently a number of staff have found themselves in embarrassing situations upon being offered gifts or inducements from residents which they cannot accept.

Positive comments from residents are shared internally in the staff newsletter and staff are continually recognised for their work and contribution.

Under the Local Government Act 2009 Southern Downs Regional Council requires:

- Employees must not ask for or accept benefits other than their official remuneration in return for performing their duties. This includes offers of travel, accommodation, meals and entertainment.

- Employees must not seek or accept a bribe or other improper inducement, nor use their official position to gain advantage or to improperly influence others in the performance of their duties.

- Occasionally employees may be offered gifts or benefits from people with whom they do business. Staff can accept gifts or benefits in certain circumstances, however must not accept any gifts or benefits if there is a possibility that in doing so, a real or perceived conflict of interest could be created.

In the event that a gift is made to an employee where it has nominal value (less than $100) and it would be impolite to refuse it and the acceptance of the gift would not raise any public concern that favours were expected in return the employee will be allowed to retain the gift, however they must declare the gift to their director and it will be recorded in the Gift Register.

Gifts and benefits valued at $100 or greater should not be accepted.

The only exception to this is where it would be impolite to refuse the gift or benefit.

Under these circumstances the gift may be accepted on behalf of council.

The gift is to be delivered to the Chief Executive Officer or Mayor who will determine the appropriate action to be taken.

This may include displaying the gift at an appropriate venue, donating the gift to a community organisation, selling or exchanging the gift or allowing the original recipient to keep the gift.

All details regarding the gift will be recorded in the Gift Register.

For those wishing to show their appreciation or thanks to SDRC staff please contact council on 1300 My SDRC (1300 697 372) or send postal communication to:

The Chief Executive Officer

Southern Downs Regional Council

PO Box 26


Topics:  bribery corruption gift register gifts southern downs regional council

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