The Office of Local Government has inappropriately intervened in Waverley Mayor Sally Betts code of conduct breach, with the secret letter confirming that Acting Chief Executive Tim Hurst has gone to extraordinary measures to protect Mayor Betts.
9.6 the model code of conduct specifies Office of Local Government’s role is to review whether the investigation was conducted properly not to review the outcome of the investigation.
The OLG review goes well beyond this. It specifically states that the investigation was conducted in a way that complies with the procedures but then seeks to overturn its findings.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This is direct political interference from the Office of Local Government who have gone above and beyond their responsibility to simply review whether the investigation into Mayor Betts’ breach was conducted properly.
“This type of political interference from the Office of Local Government is unprecedented, especially when it’s to protect one of the Prime Minister’s staffers as a local mayor.
“It is not the job of Mr Hurst to try and get Mayor Betts off the hook for her behaviour on council and it is highly inappropriate to have made additional findings in what can only be a direct attempt to clear Mayor Betts of her breach.
“The job of the Office of Local Government is to oversee the process, not second guess the outcome in order in to protect Mayors. This makes a mockery of that.
“The Liberal dominated Waverley Council has now used this entirely inappropriate letter to clear Mayor Betts of her wrongdoing.
“The report into Sally Betts code of conduct breach has been with council for over a month, but the Mayor has done everything in her power to avoid public scrutiny or accountability.
“Secret Sunday morning meetings, late night confidential reports and direct political interference from the office of local government, all of this can go away if the Mayor just says sorry.
“As long as Mayor Betts continues to treat Waverley residents with contempt, her position on council is untenable.” Mr Shoebridge said.