Greyhound Racing Victoria has terminated the employment of a fourth staff member following an investigation by the independent racing integrity commissioner, Sal Perna.
On February 5, it was announced the services of one full-time steward, a part-time steward and a full-time grader had been terminated and, on Thursday, a high-ranking middle management staff member was dismissed. The Racing Integrity Commission will release a full report, including recommendations, at the completion of the inquiry but, in the meantime, the former staff members are enduring tough times.
The scope of the RIC inquiry went back three years on Victorian TAB betting accounts and, while individual bets of up to $1000 have been reported in the media, the sacked employees' wagering was miniscule by comparison. One staff member who retained his position was found guilty of placing two bets (believed to be $25 each) on sporting events. The picture is yet to be made clear to the rank-and-file participants but it does seem that those dismissed are sacrificial lambs.
Though the now unemployed quartet failed GRV's integrity mandate, what of senior management and the culture that Perna has investigated?
A change of government in Victoria last November precipitated the departure of former GRV chairman Nick Caley and his replacement, Peter Caillard, has stepped into the mother of all storms.
Before Caillard's arrival, former GRV and Greyhound Racing NSW chief executive Adam Wallish, replaced Sandra McKay on the GRV board and his time back at the Chetwynd Street head office has been incident-packed. Only last month, GRV dealt with integrity issues at the Shepparton club, suspending race day officials and track staff for participating in a punters club during business hours.
The four sacked staff members declined to comment, which is understandable given the prospect of further action being taken. Other elements to the Victorian equation is an audit of the box draw processes requested by the local Greyhound Owners, Breeders and Trainers Association. It was concluded that the box draw was fair but still open to manipulation given any collusion within official ranks. There is no suggestion that any box draws have been manipulated but the cynics still talk the talk. Scepticism, on that score, can be healthy, the cynicism only destructive. The departure of two stewards has put pressure on staffing of race meetings and grading processes. Box draws, at present, are being conducted and overseen in an ad-hoc manner by available staff.