COUN­CIL CEO ON DRINK DRIV­ING CHARGE

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE CEO of Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil will not be able to drive for the next four months af­ter com­mit­ting a mid-range drink-driv­ing of­fence.

Scott James Wa­ters was more than twice the le­gal limit when he was caught driv­ing a grey Mit­subishi Pa­jero on Water­son Way, Air­lie Beach, at 2.30am on March 8.

The 35-year-old ad­mit­ted con­sum­ing four Corona’s and a num­ber of glasses of red wine with din­ner at a pri­vate func­tion that night.

His read­ing was 0.132 per cent.

Mr Wa­ters pleaded guilty to the charge in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court on Mon­day where he was rep­re­sented by a Bris­bane-based so­lic­i­tor from Hu­man As­set So­lu­tions Pty Ltd.

The so­lic­i­tor told the court Mr Wa­ters had stopped drink­ing at about mid­night and only made the de­ci­sion to drive be­cause of warn­ings about de­vel­op­ing Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Hadi. Mag­is­trate Haydn St­jern­qvist said the read­ing was “prob­a­bly too far away from 0.05” to con­sider the statu­tory min­i­mum penal­ties, but he con­ceded this was “very much some­thing out of char­ac­ter”.

Mr Wa­ters was fined $770 and disqual­i­fied from driv­ing for four months.

Af­ter his court ap­pear­ance, Mr Wa­ters is­sued a state­ment say­ing he was very remorseful for his ac­tions.

“I very much ac­cept what I have done is wrong and wish to apol­o­gise to our mayor, coun­cil­lors, staff, the com­mu­nity and my fam­ily for my ac­tions,” he said.

“In my role as CEO my per­sonal con­duct must be of the high­est level, I have made a mis­take and can as­sure that this will never hap­pen again.”

Mayor Jennifer Whit­ney said she was sure Mr Wa­ters had “learned a les­son”. “While at no stage do I con­done the be­hav­iour, the CEO has fol­lowed in­ter­nal pro­to­col since the in­ci­dent oc­curred,” she said.

A Coun­cil spokesper­son said the car Mr Wa­ters was driv­ing was a com­pany ve­hi­cle, which he had full use of in his own time. She said Coun­cil did have an al­co­hol pol­icy in re­la­tion to com­pany cars, but it ap­plied to work hours only.

Mr Wa­ters said there would be no im­pact on his abil­ity to per­form his role as CEO dur­ing the time pe­riod in which his li­cence was lost.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent of the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion Ross Newell has al­ready called on Mr Wa­ters to re­sign or for the mayor to ter­mi­nate his em­ploy­ment.

Cr Whit­ney said this would not be hap­pen­ing and that Mr Wa­ters had al­ready been dealt with in ac­cor­dance with both Coun­cil pol­icy and the law.

GUILTY: Coun­cil's CEO Scott Wa­ters will not be able to drive for the next four months af­ter plead­ing guilty to a mid-range drink-driv­ing of­fence.

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