Otago Daily Times
Vandervis can be heard today when councillors debate case
DUNEDIN city councillors will today consider sanctions against one of their own, as the findings of an investigation into ‘‘intimidating’’ behaviour by Cr Lee Vandervis are debated.
Cr Vandervis was found by independent investigator and lawyer Steph Dyhrberg to have breached the council’s code of conduct and demonstrated ‘‘abusive’’ behaviour when he challenged a ruling made by Deputy Mayor Christine Garey.
Today, at a full council meeting, he will have a chance to defend himself and councillors will decide if they agree he breached the code and, if so, what consequences he should face.
If he is found in breach by a panel of eight councillors, possible penalties include suspension from committees, removal of councilfunded privileges, a vote of no confidence or being asked to consider resigning.
He cannot be sacked.
Cr Vandervis could not be reached yesterday, but said in a statement last week the action against him was designed to ‘‘smother my initial complaints’’ about council leaders’ lack of proper process.
At the end of a July council meeting, he allegedly shouted at, stood over and pointed in Cr Garey's face, and behaved so aggressively that she feared he might strike her.
Ms Dyhrberg found Cr Vandervis behaved ‘‘in a manner anyone would have found intimidating’’ at the end of a council meeting in July and said there had been a material breach of the code of conduct.
Other items to be discussed by the council include whether it will adopt a new Trading in Public Places Bylaw, and whether to review its Keeping of Animals (excluding Dogs) and Birds Bylaw five years early.