Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Auld under investigation

Michael Auld, the Labor party stooge who is no stranger to being in hot water is once again being investigated by the department's EPAC branch according to senior document officials.

The officials claim to have received reports from Auld's former aide Melinda Gavin that he has leaked confidential school information, misappropriated school funds and property, sexually harassed staff and assaulted students.

Gavin gave an interview to EPAC officers at the beginning of term claiming that -
  • Auld had accessed confidential information on school computers in 2009 and 2010 and had leaked it,
  • Auld planted evidence on staff computers to implicate staff,
  • Destroyed documents implicating Lee Churches, Margaret Rowe, Simone Russell and himself,
  • Diverted funds to RDA,
  • Stolen school property,
  • Had inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature with make students,
  • Gave students pornography,
  • Showed pornography in class,
  • Inappropriately touched female students,
  • Made unwanted sexual advanced towards her, including exposing himself

These allegations come as no surprise given Auld's bizarre behavior. Auld's conduct places students at serious risk of harm. Despite being covered up by the school, Mr Auld had a checkered history with the department, having a number of issues recorded on his file for misconduct.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Carenne Support Director's wife makes submission to Boston inquiry as an 'impacted parent'

A report into the failures of the Assisted School Travel Program's operation for 2012 has been released by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. In the report, it is mentioned that corrupt and incompetent director and self-confessed carjacker Geoff Salmon's wife Gillian made a submission to the inquiry as an 'impacted parent'.

Investigations by Carenne Gate have been unable to discover just how the Salmons were impacted, especially when their son Phillip is being transported by Carenne Support Limited in 2012, a company that Geoff is a director of.

Did Salmon tell Dr Boston that she was the wife a director of the contractor transporting her son? What exactly did she say in her submission? These are critically important questions given her close association with the program (through Carenne Support's involvement).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

ASTU officer George Kalinin identified as corrupt

Following Libertarian's expos'e of Capebase Pty Ltd and its close relationship with an officer of the Assisted School Travel Unit (ASTU) known as George, Carenne Gate was flooded with details about the corrupt officer.

Carenne Gate can reveal that George Kalinin, a senior transport officer at the ASTU has been heavily involved in rorts surrounding the Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) for years.

One such rort is a system of mates rates for particular bus operators, hand selected by Kalnin himself. These rates mates were referred to as the department standard rate. The department standard rate in 2011 for a bus such as those used by Carenne Support and Capebase was $3.12 per kilometre, with a daily minimum of 100 kilometres (or $312 per day). Preferred operators such as Carenne Support, Capebase and TRAILS were paid the standard rate while other operators were not even told of its existence.

Kalinin is heavily involved in the allocation of runs at the ASTU and has rewarded his mates with lucrative runs, despite their history of major issues.

Kalinin was also known to bully drivers and operators, telling them if they complained about the system they would lose their run and it would be allocated to another operator. These re-allocations were ordinarily made to Capebase or other operators paid according to the department standard rate.

Kalinin has threatened drivers and operators who reported safety issues with both vehicles and individual students. Kalinin told these people making complaints to mind their own business and if they pushed the issue they were warned that there would be serious consequences.

Kalinin has also bullied parents, telling them if they complained too much he would just end their eligibility for transport and they would have to take their own children to school.

Numerous complaints about Kalinin have been made to both Gail Vasic (former ASTU manager) and Catherine Naismith (current ASTU manager) with no action being taken. His corrupt activities at the ASTU have been reported to politicians on both sides of the political divide and has been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, yet no action has been taken against him.

George Kalinin is yet another officer at the ASTU that should be in the dole queue, instead of looking after his corrupt mates.

Capebase exposed

One of the many shonky and corrupt assisted school travel operators across NSW, Capebase Pty Ltd has been reported in recent days as refusing to cater to the special needs of students in the Blue Mountains. The company has been reported on this blog a number of times for defrauding the department, having incompetent and dangerous drivers and student abuse.

Despite the many issues, the company is repeatedly praised by Neil Moon - who told parents in Blayney at the beginning of the year that the new bus operator would provide a far superior service to their former operator and that there is no problems with driver Steve Minshull, who is also the school's music teacher.

A former Capebase employee has spoken to Carenne Gate about the company, exposing its manager Les Ross.

According to the former employee turned whistleblower, Capebase consists of two parts - its Pacific South West Shuttle service and its assisted school travel service. According to the whistleblower, when vehicles are no longer suited to the shuttle service in Sydney they are retired to become assisted travel vehicles.

"On some of his buses you can see where he took the stickers off with a hairdryer, they are just the old shuttles used for student transport. I remember asking him why he didn't use his good vehicles for the school runs and I got told that 'we use the shit for the schools because we are only transporting retards anyway, Wollongong doesn't care, my mate George looks after me'", said the whistleblower.

The whistleblower said the standard of some of the vehicles used to transport disabled students was appalling. They claim to have made Les Ross aware of issues with vehicles, only for him to wait until the school holidays to fix them himself. They claim that most major work was done in his backyard at Moorebank. According to the whistleblower major alterations were done by Ross himself and never cleared by the RTA.

The former driver claims to have been told by transport manager, Lyn Ross (wife of Les Ross) not to 'take shit' from parents and to tell them to call her if they had any problems. She said there was a standing agreement with George at the assisted school travel unit that troublesome parents would have their children allocated to another run.

How Capebase can continue to operate under the ASTP and receive glowing reports from Neil Moon is bizarre given this history.

Who is Capebase?

With Capebase Pty Ltd engulfed in scandal surrounding the assisted school travel program, it is appropriate to provide the public (and mainstream media) with information related to the company.

Capebase was formed in February 1991 to provide business services to clients. It started providing a shuttle bus service around Sydney before entering into contracts with the education department for assisted school travel. It's history with the department has been colourful but it appears to be protected by an officer known only to Carenne Gate as George. The organisation has over 25 runs under the assisted school travel program.

The company's directors are Les Ross, a 65 year-old from Moorebank who was raised in the Lithgow area and his wife Lyn, aged 63, raised in Sydney. Mr Ross also directs two other companies - Halsend Pty Ltd and Lcross Pty Ltd.

Capebase has a touring vehicle accreditation from the Ministry of Transport and uses its accredited vehicles for its shuttle bus operation before retiring them to student transport.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Capebase refuses to cater to special needs, rewarded by DEC

The NSW Department of Education and Communities has once again shown its complete incompetence in relation to its administration of the Assisted School Travel Program (formerly known as the Special Needs Transport Service) with the revelation that Capebase Pty Ltd, an organisation which has featured on this blog for defrauding the department, having dangerous drivers and abusing students has taken over a run in the Blue Mountains formerly serviced by Katoomba-Leura Cabs.

Parents vented their anger to the Blue Mountains Gazette which has named and shamed the organisation for refusing to guarantee that they can guarantee to be able to cater to the special needs of students.

Les Ross and Capebase have been given special treatment by the department for years. It is well aware of the issues surrounding it, yet like Carenne Support it continues to be rewarded with lucrative transport contracts.

It's time for the education minister to sack Catherine Naismith, the manager of the Assisted School Travel Unit and to announce an inquiry into why organisations such as Capebase and Carenne Support were awarded contracts given their past poor performance.

Readers interested in past stories about Capebase may read them by clicking this.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

DEC misleads local media over Assisted School Travel Program

An unnamed spokesman quoted in today's Western Advocate has misled the newspaper, claiming that only six students out of 65 were affected by problems with the Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) on Monday with problems resolved soon after.

The account by the spokesman is entirely incorrect with four students eligible for ASTP assistance still not having transport arrangements as of Friday. The problems come down to a number of contractors refusing to go out of their way to transport students.

Once again, the local media is being duped by employees speaking on behalf of the education department who are paid to spin and reduce the damage of this kind of problem.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Housler and Salmon's latest Carenne Support rort

With the Assisted School Travel Program in disarray due to changes to contracts between the department and contractors and the inability to secure travel support officers, Geoff Salmon and Mary Housler have found new ways to rort the system. Under the old scheme, Carenne Support was paid around $600 per day for its Lithgow run, while under the new scheme it should be paid around $370 per day.

This year, Robyn Graham - the travel support officer who assaulted an indigenous student last year has been forced to resign, with many in the Carenne KLAN claiming that she was dismissed over the allegations against her. This is incorrect. Mrs Graham was forced to resign as part of Salmon and Housler's exploitation of a loophole, allowing them to increase the amount received from the department.

A loophole under the new scheme allows contractors to claim an extra 15% per day if they have to travel more than five kilometres to collect their travel support officer. With Mrs Graham arriving at the school with her husband of a morning and afternoon, Carenne Support would not be entitled to the extra bonus but with Robyn Graham no longer working as travel support officer, Dave Graham now has to collect an escort at an additional cost to the department of $55 per day (or $1,100 per month).

Once again, Carenne Support have shown they can not be trusted and that they will exploit any loophole they can for their own gain.