The Beagle Editor, Your readers, especially those who follow closely the procedures of Council administration, might be interested in the following: COUNCIL DENIES REQUEST!
Council has informed me, that my Code of Conduct complaint stating,
“I request that my Code of Conduct complaint be dealt with by a Conduct Reviewer other than Ms X,”
has been forwarded to Ms X.
Council has tried to justified this decision by stating,
“I have checked the ‘Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW’ and can confirm there is no section of the procedure that allows a complainant to request that a particular conduct reviewer is not appointed.
I have contacted the Office of Local Government and they have confirmed the same.”
Well, I can confirm that there is no section in the Procedure that denies a complainant the right to request an alternative Conduct Reviewer, either.
The Procedure does, however, cover the issue of BIAS in regard to conduct reviewer selection.
The Procedure states(6.4),
A conduct reviewer must not accept the referral of a code of conduct complaint where,
b) a reasonable apprehension of bias arises in relation to their consideration of the matter. A ‘reasonable apprehension of bias’ arises where a fair minded observer might reasonably apprehend that the conduct reviewer might not bring an impartial and unprejudiced mind to the matter(6.6)
*My request was based on the fact that I am of the belief that Ms X’s code of conduct decisions, over many years, have been grossly biased in favour of council.
*The request, written in my letter of complaint, implies distrust of her judgement and would thereby evoke a level of bias on Ms X’s part, against me/my concerns.
*And finally, my written complaint re Ms X, submitted in 2015, would also contribute to her impartiality when considering a complaint from me.
I believe council has failed to give adequate consideration to all the implications of selecting Ms X as conduct reviewer in this case.
It is now up to Ms X to excuse herself from this particular review.
As the Procedure states (4.8), “the conduct reviewer must consider the complainants preferences in deciding how to deal with the complaint.”
My code of conduct complaint should be returned to the General Manager and forwarded to a different conduct reviewer.
REMINDER TO ME
Must ask Councillors re above mentioned Procedures:
Council MUST by RESOLUTION establish a ‘panel of conduct reviewers’ for a term of up to 4 years, after which time a new panel must be established by RESOLUTION.
Have councillors done this? If so who is on the panel? Name and address supplied