Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Bullying claim firefighter stays on

Jo-Anna Dalby has withdrawn her resignation while a review of the brigade is carried out. Photo / Supplied
Jo-Anna Dalby has withdrawn her resignation while a review of the brigade is carried out. Photo / Supplied

A volunteer firefighter and calendar pin-up girl who left her job at the Feilding Volunteer Brigade citing a "bullying culture" has withdrawn her resignation.

May pin-up girl for the 2013 Female Firefighter Calendar, Jo-Anna Dalby, 22, resigned from her position last week after 3 years of service because of alleged verbal attacks, gossiping and an incident in which someone tried to run her over.

She has since withdrawn her resignation and taken three months' leave in the hope an external review of the brigade will remedy issues. "I have a bit of hope that the Fire Service will do the right thing and sort some of this stuff out," she said.

Law firm DLA Phillips Fox had been commissioned by the New Zealand Fire Service to probe the brigade's finance and governance.

It was recently ordered to repay $8730 in lottery grants to the Internal Affairs Minister's discretionary fund, after an application for funding failed to disclose other financial sources.

The head of the brigade, Peter Guard, is taking an "extended break" from service and Manawatu Fire area manager Mitchell Brown is temporarily filling the position.

Ms Dalby had made two complaints about behaviour involving five of the brigade's 40 to 50 members, and had taken trespass orders against two.

"A few of them have been supporting me throughout this whole thing and have always said that they don't want me to resign.

"Because this external review process is going through at the moment I just have a bit of hope that something good will come out of it.

"I do want to stay in the Fire Service and carry on with being a firefighter, but I can't go back in the current climate."

The review finishes on May 17.

* Read the Herald's live news blog here.

- NZ Herald

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