Council spends $121,431 on code of conduct investigation

The council's accounting of the costs of a code of conduct investigation was released yesterday, and measures the expense to August 29.
The council's accounting of the costs of a code of conduct investigation was released yesterday, and measures the expense to August 29.

The Glen Innes Severn Council has spent $121,431 investigating itself so far this year after three code of conduct complaints into one or more councilors or a general manager or both.

The council's accounting of the costs of a code of conduct investigation was released yesterday, and measures the expense to August 29.

Mayor Carol Sparks asked the general manager for the figure, and the correspondence was released in the business paper.

It is unclear if the investigation, which remains almost entirely secret, has been completed.

The inquiry investigates an alleged breach of the council's code of conduct by at least one councilor or former general manager Hein Basson or both. The Examiner does not know who made an allegation of a breach, what those allegations are, or who is under investigation, or when the investigation started.

In July the council met with lawyer Mr Paul Crennan of Crennan Legal to discuss a report they had received into regarding code of conduct complaints.

Council resolved not to implement recommendations contained within that report until they had received a second opinion from the Office of Local Government. The councilors also voted unanimously to keep the entire process confidential, with councilor Jeff Smith declaring a conflict of interest and leaving the room.

The council annually reports on the number of complaints made about councilors and general managers, a report that must be tabled within three months of the end of September.

There were three code of conduct complaints made in 2018, with one referred to a 'conduct reviewer' at a cost of $3,700 and resolved.

General Manager Mark Riley said he was constrained from commenting on the information by state government laws, but said that council is not paying the Office of Local Government for their role.

In an email he said it will be impossible, until their opinion is received, to advise whether the matters are more or less finalised or whether further monies will be spent on investigations.

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