State watchdog tidies up council’s record keeping
GYMPIE Regional Council has been given a refresher on how to keep minutes and conflicts of interest following last year’s fight over the accuracy of its records.
The Office of the independent Assessor issued “best practice recommendations” for the council’s consideration following a complaint over an incident last September.
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It alleged “councillors failed to adhere to the councillor code of conduct when they voted to confirm minutes … that they knew incorrectly recorded a declaration of an interest of another councillor”.
The complaint was dropped by the OIA with no further action.
However, the assessor noted “Gympie Regional Council meetings were not electronically recorded and the relevant meeting minutes did not uniformly capture sufficient details about interests disclosed and managed”.
The councillors’ ousting at the last election contributed to the OIA’s decision.
“Taking into account these circumstances, further investigation of the matter was not a justifiable use of resources.”
Councillor Glen Hartwig contested the unconfirmed August 2019 minutes which claimed he had declared a material personal interest on a Rattler matter. He aked for them to be changed to instead note a conflict of interest.
“Someone else made that statement (about an MPI),” Cr Hartwig said.
Then-mayor Mick Curran said an MPI declaration, which had been recorded in the July 2019 meeting minutes, “does not evaporate from week to week”.
Mark McDonald said he “clearly heard” Mr Hartwig make the MPI declaration.
Cr Hartwig’s request for an amendment was voted down 4-5, and the August minutes were approved with the MPI declaration 5-4.
Dan Stewart, who voted against confirming the minutes, said in the days after the minutes were inaccurate.
“My recollection of the August meeting is that while the mayor and others may have talked about Cr Hartwig having an MPI, Cr Hartwig has been consistent in saying he has a COI,” Cr Stewart said