SES boss Murray Kear facing sack

SES  former deputy commissioner Tara McCarthy, who was allegedly sacked for raising concerns about corruption. Why she was sacked isone of the central lines of inquiry at the ICAC hearing into the SES . Picture: PETER RAE

SES former deputy commissioner Tara McCarthy, who was allegedly sacked for raising concerns about corruption. Why she was sacked isone of the central lines of inquiry at the ICAC hearing into the SES . Picture: PETER RAE

SES Commissioner Murray Kear.

SES Commissioner Murray Kear.

NSW Premier Mike Baird is considering sacking State Emergency Service boss Murray Kear after he was found to be corrupt.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) started an investigation in December 2013 into allegations that senior staff at NSW SES State Headquarters in Wollongong had misused taxpayer funds and sacked one of their own in a cover-up attempt.

ICAC delivered a finding on Wednesday that the SES commissioner acted corruptly by sacking a senior whistleblower and failing to investigate serious allegations raised about an SES deputy commissioner.

ICAC recommended that Emergency Services Minister Stuart Ayres sack Mr Kear.

Mr Baird, who has staked his premiership on ridding the state of corruption, said he would consider the report.

"There needs to be cultural changes [within the SES]," he said in Sydney.

The ICAC says Mr Kear engaged in corrupt conduct by failing to properly investigate allegations against deputy commissioner Steven Pearce and by sacking deputy commissioner Tara McCarthy in 2013.

Ms McCarthy reportedly made allegations against Mr Pearce regarding two SES contracts, the use of SES funds to purchase roof racks and electric brakes for Mr Pearce's car, the obtaining of an SES vehicle for an SES manager and the potential falsification of diary entries.

ICAC said Ms McCarthy was sacked on May 14, 2013, without notice or explanation and said she was escorted from her workplace after she had reported corruption to her superiors.

Mr Kear allegedly told her he had lost trust and confidence in her.

The report noted Mr Kear and Mr Pearce were both former SES officers and had known each other since at least 2006.

ICAC has recommended Mr Kear be investigated under the Public Interest Disclosures Act.

The Public Service Association of NSW said it welcomed the ICAC report.

"If the Baird government wants to demonstrate its commitment to transparency, then Deputy Commissioner McCarthy should be immediately reinstated," association general secretary Anne Gardiner said.

"Misuse of these unfair contracts is clearly a recipe for corruption."

The chairman of the NSW SES Volunteers Association Charlie Moir also welcomed the report.

"The release of the ICAC report ends a long period of uncertainty for our members," Mr Moir said.

"This investigation surrounded the actions of a number of senior staff and not the volunteers, especially the volunteers from local units around the Wollongong area." AAP

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