Monday 27 February 2012

Bonneau CMC decision to be announced

The 13-month investigation launched by Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission into the actions of Cairns Regional Councillor Sno Bonneau, has now concluded and will be released this week.

The Department of Local Government and Planning was charged with the investigation and, after nine months of interviews and submissions, passed its findings to a Regional Review Panel to determine a finding.

Councillor Rob Pyne took a series of concerns to Council's CEO in February 2011, after he became aware of numerous times when Sno Bonneau participated in votes without declaring a conflict of interest or leaving the Council chamber.

''I had a professional obligation to bring these matters before the CEO," Councillor Pyne said. ''In fact, when such information of conflict or possible wrong-doing comes to the attention of a councillor, we cannot not take action.''

MacDonnells Law presented to all Cairns councillors their obligations under the Local Government Act. Under Sections 172 to 174, Councillor’s Conduct At Meetings, the Disclosure rules of material personal interest, there are ''mandatory requirements'' and a ''Councillor must:Disclose; Leave the room.''

In October 2011 Councillor Blake who is also being investigated under similar charges by a different complainant, said he was ''confused''.

''The votes identified in Ms Aitken’s complaint had occurred during a 'grey period' when the Local Government Act changed the way councillors declared their interests,'' Cr Blake told the Cairns Post. "Councillors were about their obligations to declare financial interests in the chamber because they hadn’t been properly briefed.''

"This vexatious complaint is driven by Val’s [Mayor Schier] failed Cairns 1st teammates," Cr Blake said. "Because I distaste her politics and her approach to running this city, I have been subjected to yet another vexatious attempt to bring me down at the ratepayers’ expense."

Janine AItken urged the council chief executive Lyn Russell, to forward the matter to the CMC because Alan Blake had apparently failed to declare a financial interest in at least 14 votes that had gone before the council since 2008.

''Cr Blake had repeatedly cast his vote in favour of company directors and property developers who donated thousands of dollars to his 2008 election campaign,'' Ms Aitken says.

A councillor can be fined up to $10,000.00 for failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest; or
not leaving the meeting room when required to.

Here's the full presentation to all Councillors from MacDonnells Law. It appears that Sections 172/174 as stated on page 9 of the councillors' presentation, is crystal clear.

1 comment:

Michael Weitzmann said...

Well, it was announced a few days ago that Sno Bonneau has had the allegations against him dropped in an unambiguous manner.

Mr. Bonneau appeared on the 4CA John MacKenzie talk show ad talked about the reasons he was leaving public life. Councillor Bonneau agreed with Mr. MacKenzie that attacks on him by "annonymous" online antagonists (Hillbilly Watch Blog???) had made serving in Public Office more difficult as there is no recourse to allegations from this quarter.

Within a day, Councillor Bonneau was back on the talk show after the news that the allegations against him had been dropped by CMC, which dismissed them in strong terms. Councillor Bonneau was at the time still considering his legal options, re pressing for damages.

All of this news seems to have escaped the Hillbilly Watch Blog. Incidentaly, the Hillbilly Watch blog was also identified by name by a certain caller for the first time (that I have heard) on the talk show. I'm awaiting the response of Hillbilly Watch.....