20 Apr 2012

PSA says decision on Bach may set precedent

7:05 pm on 20 April 2012

The Public Service Association says a decision to let the head of the Department of Building and Housing keep her job will have future implications.

A report from the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie has concluded Katrina Bach breached the department's code of conduct by swearing at a staff member and putting her hands on their head.

Ms Bach received a warning over her behaviour, and has been told she will have thousands of dollars State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie docked from her performance pay.

PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott says the decision is a clear case of double standards, and the decision will create problems in the future.

"In future cases where these kind of behaviours are at issue, you can be very sure that people will reach for this particular verdict and argue that should be the outcome in every case," she says.

Ms Bach says she regrets the workplace incidents, in which she was accused of verbally abusing a staff member, including speaking harshly and swearing at the worker last year. She was also said to have put her hands on the head of the same employee and said "What is going on in that head of yours?"

Mr Rennie found that Ms Bach breached the department's code of conduct.

Mr Rennie says he has given Ms Bach an official warning and advised her that there will be a monetary consequence for her at her annual performance review.

Ms Bach did not want to comment on today's findings, but a spokesperson for her says she accepts them and wants to move on.

Mr Rennie says Ms Bach accepts that she acted inappropriately and that her behaviour did not meet the expected standards of public servant.