Inquiry Fails to Confirm Bullying By Australian Olympic Media Chief

(ATR) Disappointment from those who complained about Mike Tancred, his job status not certain.




(ATR) An independent investigation says complaints of bullying lodged by former Australian Olympic Committee employees against media director Mike Tancred were not made on "an objective basis".

The investigation analyzed complaints made by three members of the AOC and one from the public that Tancred had repeatedly threatened to destroy their careers.

The ex- AOC workers say they are baffled by the findings of the investigation which reached no conclusion of guilt or innocence.

"His words and actions have hurt people and resulted in many good people leaving the AOC over a period of many years," the complainants said in anonymous comments reported in the Herald Sun newspaper in Sydney.

"Nevertheless we acknowledge the independent panel was acting in accordance with the terms of reference of the AOC and were limited to the five cases brought before them by people brave enough to step up and tell their story," the complainants are quoted by the paper.

Tancred was not available for immediate comment.

The investigation was led by former High Court Justice Ian Callinan and former New South Wales District Court Judge Greg James and follows a separate investigation into bullying allegations against Tancred levied by former AOC chief executive officer Fiona de Jong.

The previous investigation by an independent panel found that Tancred engaged in "disreputable conduct" in his dealings with de Jong yet rejected her claims of bullying.

The independent panel recommended in May that "Mr. Tancred be severely reprimanded for his conduct, which will form part of his employment record".

Tancred, who took leave of his AOC job when the complaints surfaced, remained off-duty while the panel considered the other allegations he faced.

It is unclear at this point whether Tancred will retain his job following the latest exoneration. The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia suggests Tancred will likely lose his post. The SMH reports that AOC chief executive Matt Carroll will determine Tancred's future of Tancred's 17-year tenure with the AOC.

The conclusion of the investigation into the actions of Tancred, an AOC employee of 18 years, follows a report on the AOC’s workplace culture released last week. The report suggested a "toxic" and "dysfunctional" workplace environment under the stewardship of AOC president John Coates.

The bullying claims against Coates ally Tancred were also used by Coates’ challenger Danni Roche in a contentious AOC presidential election in May. Supporters of Coates and Tancred say the bullying claims were used as a political narrative seeking to end Coates’ 26-year rule of the NOC.

Despite criticisms and reports suggesting a tepid workplace culture, Coates won the election and has no intention of stepping down from the presidency in what he says is his last term at the helm.

"Why should I resign?" Coates said in response to questions during the press announcement of Australia’s new chef de mission Ian Chesterman.

"There has been no confirmation of bullying. There has been some criticism of the senior leaders -- I'm the president, I'm not the senior leader that is being criticized," Coates added."I'm president and there's been a succession of CEOs under me. I have not swept anything under the carpet."

Written by Kevin Nutley

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