City greeters reprimanded for going rogue
It looks like a bunch of the Brisbane Greeters have gone rogue.
The small army of volunteers who show off the River City to out-of-towners have apparently started freelancing "unofficial" events and organising unsanctioned group visits much to the chagrin of their minders at City Hall.
That has prompted a terse letter of reprimand to go out this month from program boss Bianca Maurice.
"More than once this week (and previously) it has come to my attention that greeters are organising 'unofficial' training events and/or approaching people/places on behalf of the Brisbane Greeters to arrange group visits for Brisbane Greeters and friends/partners,'' she wrote in the email leaked to City Beat.
"This is not acceptable behaviour and something that I ask to stop….We must ensure we are always acting in the program's best interest and not to benefit ourselves.''
Maurice then ramps up the pressure by warning group members not to attend any training session organised by another greeter.
"The council is very strict (and for good reasons) and I want to ensure that you understand the risks associated with this. This matter is severe and may result in termination as a volunteer.''
Wow, can you actually be fired as a volunteer? Apparently so, but that would be a pretty bad look if it came to that for Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and his crew, who only reconstituted the popular initiative late last year.
Maurice wrapped up her spray on a positive note by encouraging Greeters to contact her directly with ideas for training or other initiatives.
But one member of the group told your diarist that it's a lack of training and general unresponsiveness from City Hall which has prompted people to take matters into their own hands.
"As you can imagine, there are a bunch of very angry Greeters who have tried to run external 'information' gatherings,'' he told us.
"There have been times when, individually, we have been approached by museums and speakers to have us attend their venue or speak to us about Brisbane.
"A group of similar-minded people have attended, along with their partners and friends, but not as an official Greeter event. When we have contacted the 'office' to contact the museum/person for an 'official' famil, there has been no response to the relevant party.
"There is very little training in Brisbane for a Greeter. You basically have to do it on your own.''
Maurice declined to comment when we rang for a chat on Tuesday, saying she would get someone from the BCC comms team to get back to us. They never did.
Originally launched by then-Lord Mayor Graham Quirk in 2012, the Greeters scheme has attracted hundreds of retirees over the years keen to show off their city to visitors, dignitaries, students and the like.
But it got inexplicably axed last year when budget cuts and job lay-offs gutted Brisbane Marketing, which has since been rebadged as the Brisbane Economic Development Agency.
Following a raft of criticism over that move, the program was revived in December, with Maurice seconded from BEDA to oversee it.
Even then there was controversy over the ditching of the original red Greeter shirts to ones sporting blue and gold. Some saw that as a nod to LNP colours.
Originally published as Brisbane Greeters reprimanded for going rogue