Thursday, 16 February 2012

Crime and Misconduct Commission and Local Government Tribunal to

Probe hits Cairns Regional councillor's election hopes

Daniel Strudwick
Thursday, February 16, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Voters will know before the local government election in April whether a Cairns councillor has been found guilty of misconduct after a year-long inquiry into claims he favoured his campaign donors.

Cr Sno Bonneau has been under investigation by the Crime and Misconduct Commission and Department of Local Government and Planning since February, 2011, after fellow councillor Rob Pyne raised misconduct claims against him. Cr Bonneau has criticised the investigation for being unnecessarily drawn out and will consider legal action against the agencies because the case has impacted his chances of re-election at the April 28 poll.

The Cairns Post revealed yesterday Cr Bonneau has already filed a defamation claim for $300,000 in damages against Cr Pyne, who raised the allegations with the council CEO and this newspaper a year ago.

Cr Pyne claims Cr Bonneau accepted election donations from business owners and property developers, and voted on council decisions that impacted his donors without declaring a conflict of interest. Cr Bonneau, who has always maintained his innocence, says he welcomes a decision from the independent tribunal.

But he insists councillors should not be the subject of unresolved investigations so close to an election. "We've been writing to the department and the CMC – everyone we could – since the middle of last year and it’s been very frustrating that we haven’t known when this would be finalised," Cr Bonneau said "I’m going to pursue the fact that they have taken so long because it is really unfair. "I’m concerned that this could happen to other people – it’s a shockingly long time for them (the CMC and Local Government Department) to play around with this." The department has defended the length of its investigation, saying it was standard for misconduct matters to "take a considerable amount of time". "Due to the serious nature of the allegations we want to get all the information to ensure the correct outcome," a department spokesman said.

The department would not say when the outcome of its investigation would be announced, except that it would happen "well before the local government elections".

                               _____________   |   ______________

My Opinion

Investigation of this type should not take as long as it puts tremendous strain on the individual. If Government sets up these bodies then they should be well funded and with guidelines outlining the length of time taken to hand down decisions.

However, to be fair in this case on the Investigating bodies , they do have to deal with a Councillor that whether on Council business of personal matters, is frequently absent from Division 9.

Ross Parisi

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.