Roy Maggio. Pic: Facebook.
The Deputy Mayor of a Sydney council has been referred to the Office of Local Government (OLG) for sending sexist texts to a female General Manager and ordered to apologise publicly to her.
Roy Maggio, Liberal Deputy Mayor of Ryde Council, was reprimanded at a July council meeting for sending dodgy texts in December last year to the council’s then General Manager Gail Connolly.
During an exchange about the outcome of the proposed merger between Ryde, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove Councils he suggested that she would be “better off as a housewife” while he was a “forward thinker” who had “pushed the boundaries.”
Connolly has since left Ryde to become General Manger of the new Georges River Council, the product of a merger between Hurstville and Kogarah Councils, proclaimed in May.
Last week, the council reconvened and decided to refer Maggio’s behaviour to the OLG for further investigation.
Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale welcomed the resolution.
“I am pleased that this matter has now been appropriately resolved. Like any professional organisation, we have established policies which enable a culture of inclusiveness and diversity to flourish.
“Any breaches of these policies should be dealt with fairly and decisively; there is no room for harassment or discrimination based on a person’s sex or marital status.”
While Maggio protested that his texts were all in jest and insisted that Connolly had not taken offence, the council [and Connolly] felt otherwise and found last month that he had breached the council’s code of conduct.
The council labelled his actions “an abuse of power” which “comprises or involves intimidate, harassment or verbal abuse” and that was likely to have had a negative impact on Connolly’s job.
The council also concluded that his behaviour was “overbearing or threatening to council staff.”
It is not the first time Maggio has fallen foul of the council’s code of conduct.
In 2013, Maggio was banned for six months from contacting council staff directly when he was Ryde Mayor after a council report found he used “inappropriate and offensive language” when speaking to council staff.
His intractability and lack of remorse over the years has not gone unnoticed at Ryde Council. At the most recent council meeting on July 26, the council noted:
“Councillor Maggio has demonstrated a pattern of behaviour of making inappropriate comments to staff and a history of dismissive comments in respect of existing or potential future Code of Conduct complaints against him.”
The ruling said Maggio must receive counselling by the end of August and apologise in writing and publicly to the former GM.
The council has contacted the Office of Local Government and the Independent Commission of Crime and Corruption about the leak to the media of the confidential code of conduct report.
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