Maranoa Regional Council generic. Photo: Lachlan Berlin
Maranoa Regional Council generic. Photo: Lachlan Berlin

Councillor cleared of misconduct claims over Roma cinema

Multiple Maranoa councillors have been absolved of any wrongdoing by Office of independent Assessor (OIA) investigators after a vote on whether the council should purchase the Roma cinema.

On December 14, 2020 the OIA received multiple complaints about various councillors following the ordinary meeting on November 11, 2020 under ‘Offer of Sale of Cinema to Council’.

In a failed complaint made against Cr Julie Guthrie, it is noted she was against the proposal LC. 4 and was ‘involved in nothing by gamesmanship’.

The alleged misconduct notes ‘that if underhand hand tactics weren’t deployed some of the councillors would have voted to purchase the property as they seemed to be in favour of providing this facility for the community’.

The OIA found this claim did not raise a reasonable suspicions of inappropriate conduct.

The issue was raised as ‘high-level’ but the claim did not identify which councillor it was referring to.

The OIA noted the complaint did not provide specific information to support the claim.

The Western Star understands all nine councillors had the same claim made against them, however Cr Guthrie requested her name be attributed to the claim on the council website.

Similarly, Cr Guthrie came under attack again when a complaint received by the OIA claimed she did not have permission to place election signs at the front of the cinema.

The councillor did declare a conflict of interest in the item on the meeting on November 11, 2020.

Investigators took no further action as it did not raise a ‘reasonable’ suspicion of inappropriate behaviour.

‘There were no further details available for the OIA to further assess this conduct,’ the OIA noted.

The Western Star believes four other Maranoa councillors had the same election sign claim made against them, however Cr Guthrie requested her name be put against the claim on the council website.

Furthermore, deputy Mayor Geoff McMullen was cleared of any wrongdoing after a claim received by the OIA stated he needs to ‘review his actions’ after not declaring a conflict of interest in LC.4.

The OIA did not take further action as the claim did not raise reasonable suspicions of inappropriate conduct.

In another claim, it stated a Maranoa councillor did not declare a ‘prescribed conflict of interest’.

It does state which councillor this claim refers to, but the OIA did not take further action.

‘It was noted that the OIA dismissed a previous complaint from the same complainant about the councillor’s interest, on the basis that OIA inquiries had established that the interest did not exist at the time of the meeting on December 11, 2020,’ the OIA noted.


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