Meander Valley Council refuses to endorse code of conduct determination against Tanya King

Questions have been raised about the legalities of a code of conduct determination report by members of the Meander Valley Council.

The complaint related to comments made by Cr Tayna King about the Meander Area Residents and Ratepayers Association. 

The council voted to receive but not endorse the entirety of the code of conduct panel determination report due to components which were in error and “potentially unlawful”.

Cr Rodney Synfield initiated the discussion, making clear that the alleged mistakes would not change the panel’s decision.

“It is my view that the document is flawed in a number of ways,” he said.

“There is improper information included within the determination report and if you read the act it sets out what information should be in the determination report.”

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The council’s critique included the presence of details about the private hearing, inconsistencies with the legislation sited by the panel, the inclusion of the addendum on the public record and lack of clarity regarding the date the document was completed.

Cr Synfield said the document should be corrected as it could be appealed in the magistrates court as per the Local Government Act.

“If it going to be a lawful document it needs to be lawful in its form,” Cr Synfield said.

“We have entered new territory with how code of conduct panels are constituted and it’s highly likely they will have some continuity of use around the state … and it ought to be robust.”

General manager Martin Gill said he had written to the local government division offering the opportunity to amend the report ahead of the council meeting.

“They have chosen to fix some and chosen not to fix others,” he said.

At the conclusion of the debate Cr King made a formal apology as per the panel’s determination.

MARRA president Ms Bodhi McSweeney said the public apology was “overdue” and the association’s members felt vindicated in making the complaint.