A FAILURE to apologise for poor conduct has left councillor Kevin Duffy with an official reprimand from the Office of Local Government.
Orange City Council found Cr Duffy guilty of a code of conduct breach in June last year after he approached a staff member outside a supermarket in October 2016, querying who controlled then-mayor John Davis’s official Facebook page.
Councillors are only authorised to engage with the general manager and senior staff, but cannot otherwise interfere with the day-to-day workings of the council.
Cr Duffy was required to apologise for the misdemeanour, but he did not deliver the apology the council required, prompting the council to inform OLG.
In a statement of reasons dated November 7, OLG chief executive Tim Hurst was satisfied Cr Duffy had breached the code.
“During the interaction, Cr Duffy sought information from the employee that pertained to a council-related matter and an individual and operational staff matter,” he said.
“Cr Duffy had been reminded of his obligations in respect of interactions with employees prior to engaging in the alleged conduct, as recently as July 21, 2016.”
Cr Duffy had been reminded of his obligations... as recently as July 21, 2016.OLG chief executive Tim Hurst
Mr Hurst also pointed out Cr Duffy was an experienced councillor, having been first elected in 2004, and had not expressed contrition despite several opportunities to do so.
The reprimand has been issued to Cr Duffy in a letter from the department.
Asked whether he should have apologised, Cr Duffy said the system for dealing with complaints was flawed and he did not realise at the time the Facebook page was an operational matter.
“It was frivolous and the question I ask is how much did it cost the ratepayers?” he said.
“Why should I [change my behaviour after the reprimand]? I’m there to represent the ratepayers, if it means asking the hard questions, I don’t particularly care – we are responsible for the operations of the council and if something goes wrong, it’s the councillors who cop the flack, not senior staff.”
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