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Gutwein Ignores Board of Inquiry, Sets Up Huon Valley Mayor

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 15 September 2016

Tags: Local Government, Huon Valley

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Local Government spokesperson

Minister for Local Government, Peter Gutwein’s, call for the Mayor of the Huon Valley Council to stand down is a shameful attack on the man elected to change the broken culture of that council.

The primary recommendation of the Huon Valley Council Board of Inquiry was to disband the entire council and call fresh elections.

Mr Gutwein was forced to set up a Board of Inquiry to investigate serial complaints about governance and misconduct, but he refused to take their advice. Instead, he created a sham mediation process that’s in no way independent.

By ignoring his own Board of Inquiry, Minister Gutwein has placed Mayor Coad, and the other councillors pushing for transparency and accountability, in an untenable situation.

Mayor Coad is an independent, popularly-elected representative of the Huon Valley residents. He was elected by the community explicitly to change the council culture of backroom decision making, special favours to councillors, and opaque financial arrangements.

The Board of Inquiry placed equal responsibility on the councillors, the General Manager and the Mayor for the communication breakdown that has occurred. The Board strongly argued against instituting a mediation process, and argued that the parties were past that point.

By ignoring the Board's recommendations, Minister Gutwein has effectively picked a side and set the Mayor up as the fall guy.

Minister Gutwein needs to stop singling out the Mayor. He should stand up for the best interests of the Huon Valley and support the recommendations of his own Board of Inquiry, disband the council, and call fresh elections.