Wyndham councillor Glenn Goodfellow has taken a “leave of absence” from the next two council meetings after he was found to have breached both the Local Government Act and Councillor Code of Conduct.
The council held a confidential special council meeting this morning, despite Cr Goodfellow moving for the entire meeting to be made public.
The motion was voted down.
In a statement, mayor Adele Hegedich said Cr Goodfellow would be taking a “leave of absence” for two council meetings starting from January 2016.
Cr Goodfellow would still be able to perform other council duties.
“At a special council meeting, council considered a report from an independent external investigator concerning a Councillor Code of Conduct complaint against Cr Goodfellow,” Cr Hegedich said.
“Council accepted the findings of the investigator that Cr Goodfellow had breached Section 76BA (c) of the Local Government Act that requires him to “treat all persons with respect and have due regard to the opinions, beliefs, rights and responsibilities of other councillors, council officers and other persons”.
“I’m on the verge of resigning
anyway – I can’t put up with it anymore”
“Council also accepted that Cr Goodfellow had breached Section 6 (h) of the Councillor Code of Conduct which requires him to “adopt a positive attitude to teamwork, including treating our fellow councillors with respect, even when disagreeing with their views or decisions”.
Star Weekly has heard from multiple sources that the breach was in regards to derogatory comments Cr Goodfellow made against a fellow councillor.
The council would not comment on the nature of the investigation.
‘Target of bullying’
Cr Goodfellow told Star Weekly that he had been the target of bullying and unfair treatment among councillors, but admitted that he too had been part of the bullying culture.
He said he had lodged an indefinite leave of absence due to stress and medical reasons 15 minutes before the special council meeting was held.
He added that he would not be standing in next year’s council election, and was unsure about whether or not he would see out this council term.
“I’m on the verge of resigning anyway – I can’t put up with it anymore,” he said.
“I made a commitment to the people of Harrison [ward] and I want to try and see that through.
“I will be taking time off from council and reassessing whether I can continue my role, however my health and mental state must be a priority for me.
“Under the Local Government Act, given that the CEO has deemed this to be confidential, I am unable to make any other comment.”
Councillors Marie Brittan, Michele Wharrie, John Gibbons, Intaj Khan and Bob Fairclough would not comment on the issue.
Fellow councillors Peter Maynard, Peter Gibbons, Gautam Gupta and Heather Marcus have been contacted for comment.