NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller personally signed off on a recommendation to block a serving officer from sitting on the board of the Cronulla Sharks, a decision the ex-director claimed was “career destroying”.
Just a day after Fuller confirmed he had been approached by Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys to fill a vacancy on the commission, while still serving in his NSW Police role, it can be revealed the state’s top cop played a major role in forcing a then-serving sergeant to resign from a directorship at club level.
Commissioner Fuller has been offered a spot on the NRL Commission.Credit:SMH
Glenn Gorick, a sergeant based at Sutherland who has since left NSW Police, was made to stand down as a Cronulla board member in early 2016 because it didn’t meet NSW Police’s secondary employment policy.
In documents seen by the Herald, Fuller rejected Gorick’s application to sit on the board while also serving as a member of the NSW Police Force.
Gorick’s application was deemed an “extraordinary to high” risk, in part due to the potential damage to the NSW Police Force “from the officer’s involvement with the club as a director stemming from the recent findings of ASADA [into the Sharks’ supplements program”.
Gorick did not have an official role at the club during the 2011 peptides scandal.
The report also says there was a perceived conflict of interest due to the liquor-and-gaming component of the club’s business, which NSW Police said was not fully disclosed in Gorick’s initial application.
The assessment denying Gorick permission to sit on the Cronulla board was signed by his former superintendent Julian Griffiths, and was then rubber-stamped by Fuller, then the assistant commissioner of the central metropolitan region.
A letter signed by Mick Fuller which denied a serving officer from sitting on the board of the Cronulla Sharks.
Fuller told the Herald on Friday he “stands by” the call.
Gorick appealed NSW Police’s decision and provided a letter from former Sharks chief executive Lyall Gorman, which stated the director “will not be involved in any area of our business or any decisions or actions related to liquor or gaming”.
Fuller’s signature is clearly seen on the document.
Gorman also volunteered to manage any perceived risks with Gorick’s non-paying role, which was to focus on the areas of community engagement, fundraising, player welfare and mental health, according to the letter.
But the application was again denied by NSW Police’s human resources chief Carlene York, who “determined that the decision by Assistant Commissioner Fuller was appropriate”.
“They want us to be able to move into other jobs so we try to get ourselves involved in local sport and other entities, but because I had to stand down I lost opportunities to join other boards,” Gorick said.
“It was career destroying.
“I was a highly respected family member who had been part of the club for 40 years, but I was tainted because I had to stand down and wasn’t allowed to disclose why because I was serving at the time. It ruined any future opportunity to return to the board and potentially other employment opportunities.
“I was platforming on player misbehaviour and misdemeanour. Part of my role was to talk to the players in regards to mentoring in wake of incidents with Todd Carney and Blake Ferguson while trying to combat those from happening again.”
Gorick quit the Sharks board in the opening weeks of the 2016 season, in which Cronulla would go on to win their first title. He claimed he was still invited to the grand final by former directors, who were disappointed about the manner in which he had to leave the club.
“Secondary employment for police in the liquor, gaming and racing industry is considered high risk,” Fuller said in a statement.
“On this occasion back in 2015 the officer’s commander believed the applicant did not fully disclose his duties in the application and the risks could not be mitigated with conditions. I recommended the application be declined on that basis.
“I stand by it.”
Fuller has sought approval from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to take on the role with the ARLC, which will hold its AGM next Friday. He has said he will donate his $75,000 directors fee to Police Legacy if appointed.
The ARLC directorship will be vastly different to a board role at some NRL clubs and the commission is charged with setting the overall strategy for the game, and has no interest in running licensed venues.
His potential arrival at rugby league’s top table will be aimed at stemming the issue of player behaviour, with Fuller warning “people should be careful what they wish for”.
The 52-year-old was a huge ally for V’landys and the NRL in their bid to fast track the competition’s resumption after the COVID break last year, and comes with the recommendation of Phil Gould.
But his shift into rugby league hasn’t come without criticism of a conflict of interest, with NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay one of the highest profile people to question the juggling act.
“I think Mick Fuller can be the police commissioner or he can work with rugby league, he cannot be both,” McKay said.
Former Queensland politician Kate Jones was last year appointed to one of two vacant roles on the ARLC which had to be filled after the resignations of Mark Coyne, following revelations of his arrest in Singapore, and Foxtel executive Amanda Laing, who stood down to avoid a perception over a conflict of interest during broadcast rights negotiations.
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