Council spat consigned to history

A CODE of conduct complaint by Cr Darren Cameron against a former Albury councillor has lapsed.

Cr Cameron asked about the complaint he made in 2011 against Amanda Duncan-Strelec this week when the council’s finance and administration committee agreed to the updated code of conduct model for NSW councils.

The complaint was referred by the former council to the NSW government after Ms Duncan-Strelec refused to apologise to Cr Cameron on the grounds she was expelled from a meeting by fellow councillors before being able to present her side of the story.

With Ms Duncan-Strelec resigning from the council before the government ruled, the matter lapsed.

She resigned before last year’s election when Cr Cameron won a seat back on the council.

They previously served on the council together.

Cr Cameron yesterday said he would move on despite no action being taken.

“It’s a moot point once the person is no longer on the council,” he said.

“The department no longer has authority to take action.

“We saw in the last council how the process can be abused and it is not something we want to see again.”

Ms Duncan-Strelec said Cr Cameron’s complaint had never been a concern.

“If I am guilty of anything, I am guilty of always having the courage to say what I think,” she said.

“I refuse to apologise for telling the truth.

“Over 20 years in public life I was on the receiving end of vitriolic and aggressive verbal — sometimes physical abuse, both overt and covert — from members of the public and councillors, most with a vested interest.”

The final two years of the previous council were dogged by code of conduct of complaints.

The updated code of conduct model applies from March 1 and the committee’s decision will be ratified later this month.

Albury’s old code was adopted in September 2009.

A key change is the appointment of a complaints co-ordinator.

That person will be responsible for managing complaints, liaising with a conduct reviewer or panel and the local government division.

Judy Charlton, the council’s corporate services director, has been appointed to the role.

“The requirement of the role is someone who manages confidentiality,” she said.

“It is not about investigation or making any determination on the result of the investigation.”

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