RESPONSE: Assessor comments on Maranoa mayor’s misconduct
Maranoa Regional Council mayor Tyson Golder has been found by Queensland's independent assessor to have engaed in misconduct where he made unauthorised comments and dealings with a Roma landholder back in 2017.
The Councillor Conduct Tribunal ruled that Cr Golder engaged in misconduct during talks with local landholders who had been corresponding with the council over land acquisition for a flood mitigation project.
Independent assessor Kathleen Florian said Cr Golder was found to have made unauthorised, dishonest, and misleading comments at a private meeting about a land acquisition.
"The ruling followed an investigation by the OIA which found that during a closed session of a council meeting in November 2017, Cr Golder sought authorisation to meet with the couple to discuss an offer previously made by council to purchase their land" Ms Florian said.
"The council agreed Cr Golder would attend the meeting in his capacity as mayor and on behalf of the council, in a final attempt to resolve the matter and avoid a compulsory acquisition.
"The meeting was organised by council staff and held at council offices the next day, with legal representatives for both parties in attendance via telephone."
Ms Florian said the notes taken at the time were accepted by the CCT as a true and accurate record, and they showed Cr Golder was at the meeting at his personal request and not on behalf of the council.
"The CCT deemed the comments to be misleading, dishonest and unauthorised, and found that Cr Golder breached the trust placed in him as a councillor by making them," she said.
"It also determined the Mayor made other comments which were not authorised by council when he told the couple:
- the valuation of their land obtained by council was strange, and he thought it should be at the rate paid for a neighbouring property
- in his personal opinion it was not reasonable to take people's land by compulsory acquisition.
"The CCT found that while these comments did not constitute a breach of the trust placed in the Mayor as a councillor, they had the effect of undermining the position of the council he leads.
"Cr Golder was ordered to publicly admit to misconduct at the next council meeting and to undertake relevant training, at his own expense, to address the conduct.
Cr Golder had no previous disciplinary history prior to this ruling.
The Western Star contacted Cr Golder for comment after the decision was made public in December, but he only said he was awaiting legal advice before he decides to comment further.