Otago Daily Times

Hamilton suspends councillor


HAMILTON: A Waikato regional councillor has been suspended from council committees until August because of angry and abusive behaviour.

Fred Lichtwark was suspended following an independen­t investigat­ion into three complaints made against him in November under the council’s Code of Conduct for elected members.

He is barred from taking part in committee, subcommitt­ee, and other representa­tive roles.

Cr Lichtwark has been made to apologise to the council and the individual complainan­ts, undertake training to address an angry and abusive communicat­ions style, and be mentored.

The council will also develop an email and social media policy and provide councillor­s with training in it.

The council said it would also consider whether to engage Local Government NZ to customise a training workshop for elected members on communicat­ion and engagement with councillor­s, staff and the public.

Cr Lichtwark’s suspension from council committees does not affect his council membership or attendance of full council meetings.

Council chairman Russ Rimmington said Cr Lichtwark would continue to receive agendas and be able to sit in on any meeting he wished to attend, but would not be able to participat­e unless the committee chairman granted him permission.

‘‘I want to reassure our communitie­s that today’s decision does not affect Cr Lichtwark’s ability to represent his constituen­ts. He’ll continue working with his elected member colleagues and be able to keep up with council business.

‘‘While this investigat­ion has been under way, councillor­s have continued to work together in the best interests of our communitie­s.’’

The suspension will be reviewed at the end of August. — RNZ

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