Councillor Rose Wanchap censured
CONTROVERSIAL Byron Councillor Rose Wanchap was censured over a Code of Conduct matter at last week's Byron Shire Council meeting with the matter referred on to the Office of Local Government.
The confidential matter relates to Cr Wanchap not disclosing a non-percunary involvement in a health clinic linked to her daughter.
The complainant, David Beattie, co-owner of the Nungkari Health Retreat, asked that details of his complaint be made public when he spoke at public access last week.
"My complaint was factual and well documented and has been investigated by an independent Code of Conduct Reviewer appointed by council."
"I believe that now the investigation is complete and the report tabled at council's meeting last week, it is in the public interest that I raise my concerns about the secrecy surrounding this matter," he said.
"Transparency is the cornerstone of democracy."
Cr Wanchap has attracted criticism from sections of the community in the past. She was elected to council in 2012 on a Green's ticket but has since voted with a group of councillors seen as "pro-development" on several key issues.
She declined to speak on the censure matter, but Councillor Sol Ibrahim defended his fellow councillor.
"There are people in Byron Shire who for political reasons would welcome Rose resigning or being suspended (as a result of this complaint) to gain control of the council, but this is nothing more than a complaint made and dealt with in accordance with the law," he said.
Speaking on Bay FM Mayor Simon Richardson said, "there was a code of conduct complaint lodged against Cr Wanchap and it was moved to be independently assessed and the investigator found that the complainant had a valid case and recommended a censure motion be put and that was supported by councillors at the meeting."
"Given that the investigation was complete I believe the public had a right to know about the details but that was defeated by council," he said.
"I can't talk about the matter beyond the result of the vote in council... but this really pointed up the vagaries surrounding confidentiality that have emerged in some council matters over the last seven years."