WODONGA mayor Anna Speedie does not believe she breached her council’s election period media protocol with comments about the city’s stock bridge on a television news bulletin.
During the caretaker period special rules apply to answering media inquires and they include who may respond from the council.
“In response to any media inquires, only the CEO, directors or manager communication and marketing will provide a response and only information related to services and operations will be included,” the council policy states.
Cr Speedie was asked by Prime7 News on Tuesday about the state of the flood-ravaged stock bridge.
Rather than refer it to a manager she answered by saying the waters were unprecedented and “of course we hope it doesn’t fall down”.
Asked by The Border Mail about whether she had broken rules, Cr Speedie said: “My comment was the operations team has said it’s unsafe, I really don’t think that’s breaking protocol.”
Cr Speedie later referred The Border Mail to comments from the council’s governance officer Kevin Scully.
“The election period policy provides that councillors will not be quoted or featured in any media releases issued by the council,” Mr Scully said.
“This protocol has been adhered to.
“The policy does not prevent councillors from responding to media inquiries in their own right.”
Election candidate Lubosh Hanuska was unimpressed.
“Here is an obvious breach of protocol, first by Prime7, whose journalists should be aware what is and is not appropriate during the council's caretaker period,” Mr Hanuska said.
“Secondly, Anna could have simply declined to comment, so an error of judgement on her behalf too.”
Fellow candidate Veronique Janel said Cr Speedie “is not in a position at present to comment on any council matter as it is in caretaker mode”.
But another hopeful Ray Snell was unconcerned.
“I see no problems with what she said, she is the mayor and was not making any decisions, only commenting on the situation,” Mr Snell said.