News

Cr clear of misconduct Councillor cleared of misconduct

Karen Toms.
Karen Toms. Adam Hourigan

THERE were tears and hugs in the public gallery at 7pm last night when Clarence Valley councillor Karen Toms was cleared of breaching the council's code of conduct.

It took councillors three hours, one of which was spent in private, to finally put an end to accusations the elected representative had acted wrongly in her dealings with a party that had held a contract for local swimming pools.

Two parties, the names of which were not revealed, complained Cr Toms breached the code of conduct by contacting a contractor.

Cr Toms cried throughout the five minutes she was given to address the council yesterday, before a discussion on a report done by a "sole reviewer" employed by the local authority, which found she had breached the code.

"That attack on my reputation last May was prejudicial in my view," she said.

"I acted honestly and in good faith and with good reason at all times.

"Please keep in mind you are in a process capable of destroying my reputation in the community."

The investigation revealed a number of breaches dating from 2011 until this year.

However, in 2011 Cr Toms, along with Cr Margaret McKenna and the then general manager, were employed to be on a working party to "negotiate" the region's pools.

At a council meeting in Maclean in May, Cr Toms leapt to the defence of one of the pool contractors and expressed concerns about the way the party was being treated by the council. She admitted she had spoken to the contractor.

That sparked the two complaints.

New councillor Andrew Baker spent considerable time querying the report and was the first to recommend Cr Toms' name be cleared due to concerns over process, and that her legal fees be paid by the council.

He lost the vote but when Mayor Richie Williamson attempted to move that further investigations be done by another reviewer, Cr Baker successfully appealed for the meeting to continue in private to address some 100 pages of confidential information.

About an hour later, Cr Margaret McKenna's recommendation that the council determine Cr Toms made no breach of the code of conduct and that the council review the report and procedures was supported by Crs Toms, Simmons, Challacombe and Baker with Crs Williamson, Howe, Hughes and Kingsley voting against.

More in tomorrow's Daily Examiner and online at dailyexaminer.com.au.




Team building leads to award win

ETC business relationship advisor Molly McCutcheon, owner and licensee of the Crown Hotel Motel Gordon Masters and local mum Belinda Bates.

Local hotel claims monthly prize

Material Journey looming locally

Jade Dewi performs at Material Journeys.

Bright, bold and beautiful materials from across the world

Norco boss appointed chair of farm co-op pilot program

Agriculture farming generic Photo Contributed

Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program kicks off

Latest deals and offers

Falls Festival tickets go on sale today

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

We've got all the details you need to make sure you don't miss out

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m