Members put ban on services to Deputy Mayor at Blayney

It's hard to imagine that there are still councillors out there who don't understand that it is unacceptable to criticise the performance of employees at council meetings. Maybe it's because it was at Blayney, and it gets pretty damn cold at Blayney, that the Deputy Mayor Councillor Kevin Radburn thought it was okay to do precisely this.

And not only that, despite being called into line twice by Mayor Bruce Kingham, he kept doing it. This was unacceptable behaviour by the Deputy Mayor and clearly a breach of significant sections of the Code of Conduct but Director of Environment Services Paul O'Brien by that stage had had enough and left the meeting.

Clearly a General Manager has a responsibility to remind the Mayor if he is not properly managing the meeting and protecting staff from this sort of thing but it is the Mayor who is responsible for managing council meetings and he failed to do so. No senior officer, or any other council employee for that matter, should be put in a situation where they have to ask the Mayor for this to be done. And any councillor who thinks its okay to ignore repeated requests by the Mayor to pull themself together and behave, should be thrown out of the meeting by the Mayor anyway.

We wrote to the General Manager calling for an apology from the Mayor for his failure to manage the meeting and from the Deputy Mayor for his breaches of the Code of Conduct and when things weren't going fast enough, our members met and unanimously resolved to place a ban, not only personally and directly on any service at all to Councillor Radburn but also services to any meeting in which council Radburn might be in attendance and deliberating.

This worked. The GM has now referred the incident to an external panel that considers potential breaches of the Code of Conduct and, after this positive approach by the General Manager, members have parked the general ban on council services for the time being. The ban on Councillor Radburn continues.

Members know that depa has had a long history of protecting employees against this sort of unacceptable behaviour and precedents established in the Industrial Relations Commission by Deputy President Grayson in the Wagga Wagga dispute unequivocally remind councils of their obligations to protect the reputations of staff as well as their health and safety.

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