December 11, 2023

‘Screaming’ councillor to be suspended for bullying two staff members

By Adam Carey
Updated December 11, 2023 — 5.46pmfirst published at 5.20pm
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A western suburbs councillor who bullied two staff members – including screaming at them over the phone and making belittling remarks about their work – is to be suspended for four months after being found to have engaged in serious misconduct and creating an unsafe workplace.

Wyndham City Councillor Jasmine Hill is due to be suspended at a meeting on Monday night, following the tabling on Friday of a councillor conduct panel’s report into 18 allegations about her behaviour.

Wyndham councillor Jasmine Hill is to be suspended for four months for engaging in workplace bullying.Credit: Wyndham City Council

The panel found Hill bullied two Wyndham staff members.

The two staff members, who both gave evidence at a panel hearing, have since left the council, mainly due to Hill’s treatment of them, the report states.

Hill has shown no remorse and denies she engaged in bullying behaviour, the panel’s report states. The Age has contacted Hill for comment.


“Clearly, staff of the council should not be shouted or screamed at. Further, Cr Hill has shown no remorse or understanding of her actions,” the report said.

Hill’s misconduct included screaming down the phone at a council staff member in a call that lasted about 15 minutes, over a briefing that Hill did not want to go ahead.

The councillor accused the staff member of undermining her and “setting her up”.


Councillor Josh Gilligan brought forward the original motion for an investigation.Credit: Jason South

Hill “raised her voice and yelled and screamed at her repeatedly … [and] became hysterical”, the conduct panel heard.

Another council worker was “screamed and shouted at … for about 39 minutes” in another phone call, after the council worker apologised for making an error in Hill’s diary.

The call left the staff member feeling flat and fragile for days, and questioning how he could be screamed at like that at his workplace.

The panel found Hill’s behaviour created a risk to staff health and safety.

The panel hearings were triggered by an application by fellow Wyndham councillor Josh Gilligan.

Gilligan said a four-month suspension was inadequate and that Hill should be stood down as a councillor.

In a letter to Local Government Minister Melissa Horne, Gilligan wrote that Hill “continues to pose a serious and present danger to the health and safety of our council staff”.

“This ruling, shockingly, quantified that the penalty for bullying not just one public servant, but two, equates to a measly four-month suspension on the bench, or just two months per person,” he wrote.

“If a worker did what Ms Hill did in any worthy workplace in the state of Victoria, they’d get the sack. And rightly so.”


Hill wrote in response to the panel’s findings: “I acknowledge that I may sometimes use assertive language when communicating with members of council staff, but I do not shout or yell at them.

“Screaming is unprofessional, disrespectful, and counterproductive. It creates a hostile and unhealthy work environment that harms the wellbeing and performance of everyone involved. I value members of council staff and I always strive to maintain a positive and supportive relationship with them.”

A spokesperson for the Allan government said: “All councillors are expected to abide by the standards of conduct under the Local Government Act.”

“The Act sets out a clear framework for the management of councillor conduct issues.”

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Adam Carey is Senior City Reporter (suburban). He has held previous roles including education editor, state political correspondent and transport reporter. He joined The Age in 2007.Connect via Twitter or email.


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