21.6 C
Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Confusion over Byron code of conduct complaints

Latest News

Global predicament

Dudley Leggett – Director of Sustainability Research Institute, Suffolk Park Phillip Frazer’s article, (Echo 6 January) is an excellent summary of...

Other News

Board defends its management of Mullum Rural Co-op

The issue of potential fraud and financial mismanagement was a key part of the response from Mullumbimby Rural Co-op...

Respect for Country

Léandra Martiniello, Whian Whian It is the night of the full moon, I have just watched it rise. On the...

On-farm restaurant’s sustainable vision

Frida’s Field is an on-farm restaurant based in Nashua, just ten minutes from Bangalow. Hosting three long lunches per...

Global predicament

Dudley Leggett – Director of Sustainability Research Institute, Suffolk Park Phillip Frazer’s article, (Echo 6 January) is an excellent summary of...

Byron Bay’s first ever matured spirit wins gold medal at London Spirit Competition

While the Northern Rivers region is well known for its environment and lifestyle, it is also becoming known for...

Interview with Madeleine West

Madeleine West is a nationally acclaimed actress who is one of the many talents who lives in our region. Not just a soap star (some might know her as Dee Bliss from Neighbours), Madeleine has an extensive performance training background and she’s going to be sharing her Theatresports expertise with kids at the Byron Comedy Fest.

Byron Shire Council general manager Ken Gainger. Photo supplied
Byron Shire Council general manager Ken Gainger. Photo supplied

Hans Lovejoy

Two recent cases involving code of  conduct complaints  at Byron Shire Council– one against a volunteer and one against a councillor – have revealed a lack of understanding of the code as well as a lack of clarity with the code itself.

A volunteer tasked with helping the recent South Golden Beach community hall renovations was ‘censured’ by council’s general manager Ken Gainger after she made contact with the building contractor without council’s permission.

And while council said Angela Dunlop’s efforts and contributions were ‘greatly appreciated and acknowledged,’ Ms Dunlop said the response was unfair and asked for a review by the NSW Ombudsman.

Claiming ‘delays and poor communication from council staff,’ Ms Dunlop maintained that ‘we had been approached by numerous prospective clients who were interested in hiring the hall for one-off events, but owing to the uncertainty of the commencement date, we were unable to guarantee that the hall would be available.’

The Echo understands that after the building contract was signed, Ms Dunlop disregarded a written direction not to contact the builder.

And despite conduct ‘briefing’, she told general manager Ken Gainger, ‘I am not aware of any direction from council to our committee to not make contact with the builders. I believe the claims of misconduct to be spurious.’

Ms Dunlop also questioned a possible conflict of interest occurring where the general manager ‘conducts any investigation involving a perceived failure of management process.’

The NSW Ombudsman’s office replied to Ms Dunlop and said that they were satisfied the general manager acted in accordance with the code.

As for Ms Dunlop’s concerns that the code of conduct applied ‘in different ways to committee members and elected councillors and staff,’ inquiries and assessments officer Daniel Hill said, ‘it is open to you to lobby your elected representatives and relevant ministers if you think changes should be made.’

Uncertainty

Similar uncertainty surrounds a complaint against Cr Sol Ibrahim after he contacted an associate of a tenderer to council regarding ‘some engineering aspects’ of the Belongil rock wall project.

Reviewer Gary Faulks replied to Byron Resident’s Group’s Cate Coorey’s complaint, saying, ‘Cr Ibrahim acknowledges that he attended a code of conduct course in Lismore but, despite this, was unaware of many aspects of the code.’

Mr Faulks said there was ‘incomplete understanding and knowledge of the requirements of the Byron [Council’s] code of conduct [policy]’, but regarded Cr Ibrahim’s intention was ‘progressing the whole issue, as well as securing cost and time savings for the project.’

While Mr Faulks advised he would not take further action owing to there being ‘no adverse consequence for council,’ he did acknowledge that ‘further training for Cr Ibrahim (and probably other councillors) regarding the council codes and policies is something that should be considered.’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

How full is that glass?

Cr Alan Hunter, Byron Shire Council Council Staff recommend opposing the proposed changes in the Exempt Development provisions to be considered in this week’s Council Ordinary meeting. The...

Creative carbon capture

Desmond Bellamy – Special Projects Coordinator, PETA Australia, Byron Bay Last week, the Australian government pledged half a billion dollars for ‘clean’ energy projects, including 264 million...

Assange’s father to beg Biden for son’s freedom

John Shipton, father of detained WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, says he’ll return to the United States to ask President Joe Biden to drop legal action against his son.

Linnaeus Estate DA raises residents concerns

Community concern over the current development application (DA: 10.2021.170.1) for Linnaeus Estate in Broken Head has led to detailed analysis of the DA.