Finally, I received a response from the Office of Local Government (OLG) via Bega Valley Shire Council regarding council’s resolution in December last year that “… Cr Allen publicly apologise to Mrs Campbell” and his subsequent refusal to do so.
Despite previous advice to Council from OLG in February that “Cr Allen is obliged to comply with the council’s resolution requiring him to make an apology in the manner specified in that resolution”, the latest advice says that “decisions made by this office on whether to take disciplinary action under the misconduct provisions of the Local government Act 1993 carry more onerous consequences than those made by council and its conduct reviewers.”
As a result, the OLG have advised that they are unable to accept the evidence provided by the NSW District Court judgement or the independent reviewer and decided that “while it is important that councillors are brought to account for not complying with the resolutions of their councils,” they are not satisfied that “the impost of the required process to achieve that outcome was justified.”
They have written to Cr Allen asking him to reconsider his decision not to provide an apology.
So now the responsibility to enforce their resolution comes back to council as they can and have accepted the evidence of the NSW District Court judgement and the independent reviewer that Cr Allen breached the Code of Conduct by harassing Mrs Campbell and touching her in an inappropriate manner.
There are provisions under the Local Government Act for appropriate censure.
If council were to shirk its duty in this case, there would be a legal precedent for any citizen of Bega Valley Shire Council to ignore any resolution of council with which they may not wish to comply.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.