Complaint against councillor held
KYOGLE councillors struggled to be heard over a ride-on lawn mower when the ordinary council meeting was held at Mallanganee yesterday.
The sounds of the mower along with a noisy urn in the kitchen at times drowned out the voices of councillors and staff, who spoke without microphones, as they attempted to move through the items on the agenda.
Finally, Cr Ernie Bennett asked the driver of the ride-on to stop, just in time for a Code of Conduct complaint against Cr Janet Wilson to be considered.
Cr Wilson, who is deaf, brought along a scribe to make notes for her during the meeting so she could follow the proceedings.
Cr Bennett put forward a two part motion which said Cr Wilson had breached the council’s Code of Conduct for councillors in her dealings with council staff and that she was required to apologise to the staff concerned.
The complaint, filed by council staff, was upheld by a council appointed independent reviewer who found Cr Wilson had breached the code through emails she sent to staff.
Cr Lynette Zito described the complaint as ‘vexatious’ and said Cr Wilson had been denied natural justice because she had not been given adequate opportunity to respond to the complaint.
Cr Wilson had 45 days to respond but did not because, she claims, she was travelling between Victoria and Kyogle to care for her gravely ill son during the investigation.
However, mayor Ross Brown said Cr Wilson had refused on four occasions to meet with council staff to resolve the matter before a Code of Conduct Complaint was lodged.
The motion was passed with Councillors Lindsay Passfield, Robert Leadbeatter, Tom Cooper, Bennett and Brown voting in favour of the motion, while Councillors Robert Dwyer, Zito, John O’Reilly and Wilson voted against it.