Hartwig responds to Plant 'saviour' letter, asks how he knew
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
THANK you Mr Plant for your letter.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
Yes I made an error in not declaring a perceived conflict.
I am mature enough to accept that sometimes we all are human and perfection is not one of my qualities.
When you had written earlier at the time the complaints were made you made it clear to all, by inference, that you were aware of these matters.
That is of great concern given the necessity of confidentiality required by law, and at the time it raised the real and legitimate question of how did you know?
Was it you that called the Gympie Times to inform them of the complaints?
I received advice of the complaints after 5pm on Friday and yet you had enough information to call the Gympie Times on Monday morning, how could this be?
The facts of the matter are simple.
I was working for a contractor to council. Council staff were overseeing the bridge repair work. I was approached by a contractor to do some sandblasting work.
I initially declined the offer as I had with ALL of the Rattler work.
Not because I couldn't use the money but because "I had a real issue with taking money from the rate payer on this project."
What that means is that, morally, I was not satisfied that the process that council had used to justify such massive expenditure was legitimate or appropriate.
I felt, as a business owner, that the project was so poorly planned and I had seen first hand deals that I felt were not acceptable from a moral standing and I was not happy to take money from the rate payer for my legitimate services.
Time has proven that my beliefs in this area were well founded.
After seeing the impact of the road closure on the flow of traffic and with the knowledge that if I didn't do the work the road would need to be closed again, causing further disruption to the community, I chose to do a small amount of work.
The tribunal acknowledged that my actions were based around "community interest", they acknowledged that I voted against further funding for the Rattler program and they acknowledged that I had turned down many offers of work that related specifically and only to the rattler.
The work was complete in January and at the end of March and April I voted to not support further blowouts to the Rattler by increasing funding.
At this time I just simply forgot to declare this work I had done. It was an error and for that I apologise.
If confronted with this scenario in the future I will not do the work and you and the rest of the community will have to be inconvenienced for a greater period. This is not how I like to do things but it is the world that has been created.
I hope this gives further clarity to the issues and I look forward to your response where you inform the community exactly who gave confidential information relating to the complaints.
Gympie Regional Councillor Division 2