Friday, December 18, 2009

Fluoride's here but Graham's gone

AFTER 15 years loyal service with Fitzroy River Water, Graham Demeny says his career is down the gurgler because of fluoride and an uncompromising council.

Graham, who was responsible for making Rockhampton’s drinking water safe, resigned earlier this month after his request for a transfer within Rockhampton Regional Council was refused.

He said he questioned the safety of adding fluoride to the city’s water supply and ethically wasn’t prepared to do the job.

From today fluoride will be added to drinking water in Rockhampton, The Caves and Gracemere.

Protesters, including councillor Glenda Mather, will rally against the situation this morning outside City Hall.

Yesterday Cr Mather said Graham’s situation was a tragedy.

“I consider staff, especially long-term staff, as the organisation’s most valuable asset and we need to treat them like liquid gold,” Cr Mather said.

“I feel very sad for this family, especially at Christmas time, as clearly the breadwinner has ended a career because he stood by principles.

“I don’t know what I can do, but will certainly be making some internal enquiries to see if a solution can be found.”

Graham, who finished up with council on December 7, said he was one of five people who added the chemicals to the water supply.

“For the last 15 years I have worked at the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant operating the chemical dosing of water taken from the Fitzroy River for the city’s consumption,” Graham said.

“Until now all processes adopted have made the water either clean or safe to consume.

“Fluoride addition does neither and questionably compromises the safety aspect.

“With this ethical, plus a few moral issues, I realised my present position was untenable.”

He said he approached council about a transfer.

“Not wishing to make waves and expecting respect on my stance on fluoride and for the years of loyal service I requested redeployment,” Graham said.

“Without negotiation I was told to leave if I wasn’t prepared to dose the city water supply with fluoride, for there would be no redeployment.”

He said his was just one of many examples of the “consequences of supercilious policies and procedures adopted by council since amalgamation which are drastically reducing morale in the council workforce”.

A council spokeswoman confirmed Mr Demeny had worked for the council before resigning, however said it was not council’s policy to comment on staffing matters.



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