TOWONG’S council members will formally address their mayor next week over his bare-bummed Christmas photo greeting to a ratepayer.
The discussion about Cr Aaron Scales’ raunchy text to Walwa art gallery owner Steve Caldwell will occur behind closed doors at a workshop next Tuesday.
The mayor announced on Monday that he would write a formal apology to Mr Caldwell, after sending him an image of two naked men decorating a tree with his message – “Here’s a new Christmas wish for you”.
On Tuesday, Mr Caldwell said he would not be accepting the sorry, because he remained upset at the council’s approach to him and its “lack of accountability for the waste of ratepayers’ money”.
The homosexual rejected Cr Scales’ explanation that he had sent the text as a joke after receiving it from a female friend.
“If he thinks it’s a laugh, what’s he laughing at, is he laughing at my sexuality?” Mr Caldwell said.
“What woman would send to the mayor a photo of two naked men, what’s his real story?”
Cr Scales said there was no sexual motivation to sending the text.
“It was an error of judgement, major error of judgement,” he said.
Towong Council chief executive Juliana Phelps said Cr Scales’ apology would be written on a shire letterhead and posted to Mr Caldwell.
She said the greeting had been listed as an agenda item for a councillor workshop next Tuesday.
It will be discussed in the context of the councillors’ code of conduct which specifies that representatives treat citizens with dignity, “ensuring that neither offence nor embarrassment are caused”.
Ms Phelps said “whether Mr Caldwell accepts the apology or not is his prerogative”.
If the dispute continues an independent arbiter may be appointed to seek a resolution.
Following that process, a report from the arbiter may be considered in a council meeting open to the public.
Mr Caldwell wants Cr Scales to resign from the council over the matter.
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