A Code of Conduct complaint against a Meander Valley councillor has been upheld after he approached a female staff member at her car in a public street, visited a property where she was feeding her horses and sent her emails after a request not to.
The report, released on Wednesday, said councillor Rodney Synfield would have to attend at least three emotional intelligence training sessions as a result.
Emails show he also brought her gifts "100 per cent as a private person, caring about someone else" and also referred to "the interest we have already expressed about, and for each other".
With the support of the staff member, the council's general manager Martin Gill lodged the complaint in late 2018. The employee alleged the behaviour had been ongoing for about 12 months.
Cr Synfield was not re-elected at the October local government elections, meaning the complaint was unable to be pursued. However, after a councillor resigned, Cr Synfield was re-elected. The report said the investigation resumed as soon a practicable after he was re-elected.
The panel, led by Sue Smith, Lynn Mason and Anthony Mihal, upheld the complaint due to all councillors having to treat "all persons with fairness", "must not cause any person offence of embarrassment" and "must not bully or harass any person".
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During the conduct hearing, the council employee said the behaviour had taken a "significant amount" of time to manage.
From about mid-2018, Cr Synfield's phone calls to her had become more frequent, she began to screen his calls and send them to voice mail, the report said.
She told the panel his emails had become more concerned with matters outside of council business, and that "the intensity of his level of concern" towards her was worrying.
The report said the staff member had been the subject of discussion, that she was embarrassed and distressed by the behaviour occurring at her workplace, and that her role as an employee had been affected.
Councils do not have the authority under the Local Government Act 1993 to remove a councillor from office.
Cr Synfield said he would not step down from his position.
"I was shocked by the complaint, which asserted that I had crossed a line as a councillor," he said.
"I wished to offer the employee my sincere, unreserved apology for any angst or concern I might have caused that person. Unfortunately, however, the employee refused to receive my apology."
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Cr Synfield said he had known the council employee both professionally and socially for some time and had "always behaved in an honourable manner and with integrity".
"According to the sanction imposed by the panel it would appear that I'm in need of training in contemporary etiquette and communications skills for use in this modern age," he said.
Procedures within the Meander Valley Council were criticised by Cr Synfield.
"Other than the code of conduct itself, no practices or procedures existed within Meander Valley Council governing interactions between councillors and staff," he said.
Mr Gill said there were provisions in the Meander Valley Code of Conduct, which were based on the Local Government Minister's template for such documents.
The legislation states a councillor must not contact an employee of the council in relation to council matters unless authorised by the general manager of the council.
In April The Examiner made an inquiry to Mr Gill in relation to the then open complaint and the council's current policies.
"Previously we had provided councillors with access to staff, we have just put some controls around this," he said.
"It is not unusual for this type of control to be in place."
On Wednesday, Mr Gill said in the majority of cases boundaries of professional interaction were understood.
Meander Valley mayor Wayne Johnston said it was disappointing a councillor's behaviour had led to a complaint.
"Council has a responsibility to be proactive in its approach to upholding the principles and values that our constituents expect," he said.
The Code of Conduct panel said the breaches were of serious nature. Cr Synfield is required to start the sessions by August 9, and complete them by September 30.