Minister airs dirty laundry of departing chief's diarchy demand

By The Mandarin

June 30, 2016

Following media reporting on Thursday morning that Victorian CFA chief fire officer Joe Buffone has resigned amid the ongoing dispute between the state’s firefighters, the union and the government, a minister has hit back by claiming a different reason for Buffone’s resignation.

Deputy Premier James Merlino, who took over as Emergency Services Minister following the resignation of Jane Garrett, this afternoon confirmed the resignation, but claimed an offer to withdraw the resignation was made if terms were met.

Those terms, according to Merlino, were:

  • Equal status with the CEO within the CFA organisational structure
  • Payment of a salary equal to the salary paid to the CEO
  • An entitlement of 12-months’ salary at higher pay if he departed before the end of his contract for whatever reason

Buffone’s lawyers gave the CFA a deadline of 5pm Wednesday to meet these conditions. The CFA engaged lawyers to scrutinise the highly unusual nature of these demands, Merlino says, but nothing came of it.

Merlino says the government is disappointed by the circumstances surrounding Buffone’s resignation. “It does not serve the best interests of CFA staff, or career and volunteer firefighters,” he added.

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