WA DCS denies demotion
A senior WA public servant says he has been demoted after taking legal action.
In March 2016, Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis publicly blasted the Department of Corrective Services (DCS) chief financial officer at the time, George Kessaris, saying he had been “caught out for incompetence”.
The attack was in response to the leaking of an internal memo Mr Kessaris wrote, which revealed significant “governance concerns”.
Mr Kessaris sued Mr Francis for defamation, but the case was settled out of court.
An internal DCS investigation was launched to find out who leaked the document - with strong insinuations that Mr Kessaris was the one - but DCS correspondence allegedly seen by the ABC, reportedly found no misconduct by Mr Kessaris in relation to the leak.
Mr Kessaris is on leave, so he still receives his salary package worth about $180,000 a year while DSC organises his return to work.
The department has now told Mr Kessaris that he will not be placed back into the position of chief financial officer.
Mr Kessaris says he has been offered a senior project role, something he sees as demotion.
“I have asked for reasons for this verbally and in writing but have no received a response to that question, or any reasons or evidence,” Mr Kessaris told reporters.
“In government when you are put on 'projects' it basically means you are demoted and you are pushed aside.
“Having been cleared of any wrongdoing, why I am not being treated fairly by the department?
“I cannot wait for this to be over, it has played on my mind and it continually gets worse with fear.
“I just want relief ... from the suffering it has caused me and family.”
He is likely to take the case to the WA industrial relations commission to seek redress.
“I have been bullied and I'm certainly aware of other instances ... where that has been the case. There is a bullying culture in certain circles, that target people who don't toe the line,” Mr Kessaris said.
“Their embarrassment is minuscule compared to the damage it has caused me.”