The mayor of a regional Queensland council has been ordered to publicly admit misconduct after a tribunal found he made dishonest and misleading comments during landholder negotiations, and breached the trust placed in him as a councillor.
Maranoa Mayor Tyson Golder also undermined the council he led by telling the local couple involved in the discussions that he didn’t think land should be taken by compulsory acquisition, the Councillor Conduct Tribunal found.
The CCT ruling last November came after an investigation by the state’s local government watchdog, the Office of the Independent Assessor.
Cr Golding was in a private meeting with a local couple about land acquisition as part of a flood mitigation project when the comments were made.
The CCT sais that during a council meeting in November 2017 Cr Golders had sought authorisation to meet with the couple to discuss a council offer to purchase their land for $150,000 as part of the Roma Flood Mitigation Program.
Council agreed Cr Golder could attend the meeting on behalf of the council.
However, notes taken during the meeting showed Cr Golder told the couple the meeting was being held at his personal request that and he was attending in a personal capacity.
He also told them that councils’s valuation of their land, at $10,000, was “strange” and should have been the same rate as for a neighbouring property, and it was his personal opinion that is was unreasonable to take land by compulsory acquisition.
Those comments were unauthorised and “had the effect of undermining the position of the council he leads” Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian said.
“Those views did not demonstrate high quality leadership and good governance in the circumstances,” the tribunal said in its November 2020 decision.
The CCT also provided details of how Cr Golding had offered the couple up to 40 acres from a police paddock “at no cost” as part of land swap.
He also told the couple he understood the emotional toll of the acquisition as his mother’s land had also been resumed.
The tribunal took into account that Cr Golder had no prior disciplinary history and believed he was acting in the best interests of the council.
However it said “the orders that Councillor Golder make an admission at the next Council meeting that he engaged in misconduct and that he attends further training, would achieve the desired outcome of reducing the likelihood of the conduct being repeated in the future”.
Cr Golder declined to comment.
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