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Statement by the Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian – (former) Scenic Rim councillor decision

2 September 2021

Former Scenic Rim councillor Nigel Waistell has been found to have engaged in misconduct during his time in office, in the latest ruling by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The CCT found Mr Waistell breached the council’s acceptable requests guidelines when he forwarded an email from a council officer, containing information Mr Waistell had requested, on to a member of the public.

The CCT heard the council’s guidelines stated that when a councillor requests information or advice from a council officer by email, they are not to forward the response to members of the public.

It also heard the council officer’s email included a footer advising that the content was confidential and that the message should not be shared with any third party without written consent of the sender.

Evidence showed that Mr Waistell did not seek written or verbal consent to forward the email and, while he acknowledged his actions he disputed they amounted to misconduct, telling the hearing that he was acting on behalf of a constituent.

A breach of the acceptable request guidelines adopted by a council is specifically listed as misconduct in the Local Government Act 2009.

The CCT issued a formal reprimand, noting that while Mr Waistell was no longer a councillor he had previously been disciplined for similar conduct.

It said the order was made to deter this type of conduct and to maintain community confidence in the “system of governance and transparency by local government”.

The CCT decision can be found here.

ENDS

Media contact: 0477 385 727 or OIAmedia@oia.qld.gov.au.

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Last updated: Thursday, Sep 2, 2021