A long battle has finally ended in a victory for the Greens and the Rushcutters Bay community with the contract for the management of the local tennis courts being awarded to Rory Miles, the much loved operator of the site who has done a fantastic job of managing the courts for the last 27 years.
Earlier this year it didn’t look like this story would have such a happy ending. Lord Mayor Clover Moore and her party of “independents” vigorously supported a recommendation by Council staff that all Council owned tennis facilities be placed in the hands of a single operator, tossing Mr Miles out of his job. See this post, which I made on the issue at that time, for more information.
The Greens Councillors opposed this recommendation on the grounds that the tender process leading up to it was flawed in a number of ways. It didn’t properly account for the contributions existing operators had made to the community, which in the case of Mr Miles included extensive free tuition and court time provided to local disadvantaged kids. It also ignored the fact that he had been provided with a $100 000 per annum grant from the charity Franks Family to further this work with disadvantaged and indigenous children.
Additionally it was inconsistent in its treatment of the various tenderers. One was excluded for emailing Councillors about their application as this was considered ‘lobbying’, however a second tenderer was excused after undertaking a similar action and went on to become the recommended winning tenderer. When I tabled legal advice stating that this inconsistency was unacceptable Clover Moore scrambled to suspend the tender process and ultimately deemed it necessary to be restarted.
The new tender process was carried out in a far more rigorous and equitable manner. Once the contribution to the community of each of the operators was properly accounted for it became clear that Mr Miles was the operator best placed to carry on the management of the Rushcutters Bay courts.
The level of community support behind this operator was phenomenal and I’m very pleased to see we’ve finally had a positive outcome. Rory Miles has gone through hell over this issue and been forced to spend around $55 000 negotiating his way through Clover Moore’s attempts to get rid of him. I’m sure that he and the tennis players of Rushcutters Bay will be most relieved that he’s now able to go back to doing what he does best, teaching tennis and operating a much loved social tennis club.