Between 1973 and 1980 I worked full time as a Town Planner, initially in Victoria and then in NSW. During my first time with the NSW Ombudsman Office (1980-1986), the focus of my work was on local government matters and then the oversight of police complaints. I left the office in 1986 to work for the then Department of Local Government as a Local Government Inspector under the then Local Government Act 1919, before being promoted to Manager of the Special Investigations and Management Audit Branch of the Department. Apart from conducting and/or managing numerous investigations, in these roles I was a primary author of a range of management guidelines published by the Department, including Council Management Planning, Council Management Guidelines, and the NSW Local Government Code of Conduct and Manual (as far as I am aware, the first detailed code of conduct and associated manual published for public sector agencies in NSW). In 1990 I joined a major law firm where I specialised in administrative law related matters for a range of state and local government entities, including on several occasions representing public officials in hearings before the ICAC.
Over my time in the Ombudsman’s Office (1980-1986 and 1994- 2019) I worked for a period with all seven NSW Ombudsman:
In my time as Deputy Ombudsman I was appointed to act as Ombudsman for periods totalling almost two years, including a period of several months between the resignation of the fourth Ombudsman and the appointment of the fifth.
As Deputy Ombudsman I was directed by five Ombudsman to exercise most of their powers and to fulfil the associated obligations. These powers included commencing and conducting numerous formal investigations under the Ombudsman Act, holding well over one hundred hearings using the Royal Commission powers, making reports to complainants, agencies and Ministers, etc.