Close call for Smith

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Jon Bas­sett

AL­LE­GA­TIONS of in­ap­pro­pri­ate Face­book comments, rude­ness to coun­cil­lors, abuse of staff and res­i­dents and dis­re­spect of ex­ter­nal groups failed to con­vince Cock­burn coun­cil­lors to eject Deputy Mayor LeeAnne Smith from her roles at a rowdy spe­cial meet­ing at­tended by about 100 res­i­dents last week.

“Elected mem­bers are ex­pected to be cor­dial and act with do­co­rum,” Cr Chon­telle Sands said, who brought a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion against Cr Smith.

Cr Smith faced be­ing sus­pended from her role and coun­cil com­mit­tees and hav­ing her al­lowance re­moved for six months for al­legedly breach­ing the coun­cil’s code of con­duct.

Cit­ing emails and re­ports mostly from this year, Cr Sands al­leged Cr Smith was “rude to elected mem­bers, ad­min­is­tra­tion and staff when dif­fer­ent opin­ions are pre­sented”, in­sulted the head of the West­port Task­force, yelled at the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, spoke on ra­dio about Roe 8 con­trary to the coun­cil’s pol­icy and in­sulted the pub­lic at a con­cert.

So­cial me­dia posts about a Jan­dakot road, free­way bill­boards and the Task­force had al­legedly also breached the coun­cil’s code.

“I’ve got to say many of these are al­leged at the present time,” Cr Smith said.

Cr Smith said Cr Sands was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Govern­ment for al­leged breaches of the code but the depart­ment has con­firmed it has not re­ceived a com­plaint about Cr Sands.

Cr Smith said she was aware of the code and how easy it could be breached and im­me­di­ately pro­vided her own ex­am­ple when she told chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Cain to be quiet when she spoke.

Cr Kevin Allen said the meet­ing was grand­stand­ing, the rec­om­men­da­tion puni­tive and the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Govern­ment would see it as dys­func­tion in the coun­cil.

The mo­tion failed af­ter the vote was dead­locked at 5-5.

Cock­burn Mayor Lo­gan Howlett said so­cial me­dia could not be banned for coun­cil­lors.

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