New chairman for councillor conduct panel

A NEW chairman and proxy chairman have been appointed to the Derwent Valley Council’s code of conduct panel. All councils are required to have such a panel to hear and adjudicate on any complaints relating about elected members. The chairman of the Code of Conduct Panel must:

  • Be a person of good standing in the community and is not or has not been a councillor or employee of that Council within the previous five years;
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the principles of natural justice;
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the operations of local government;
  • Have previous experience chairing boards, tribunals or committees.

General manager Stephen Mackey reported to a special meeting held on May 10 that a selection panel had interviewed two candidates and was of the view that both applicants adequately met each of the selection criteria and had an understanding of the role.

“Based on his experience with corporate boards the selection panel has recommended the appointment of Mr Kenneth Pomlett as chairperson of the Code of Conduct Panel,” Mr Mackey said in a written report. “The Panel has recommended that Mr Vivian Cardwell be nominated as a proxy chairperson in the event that the appointed chairperson has a conflict of interest or is unavailable at the time a complaint is made.”

Mr Pomlett lives at Plenty where he operates the Swallow’s Nest guesthouse. Mr Cardwell lives at Bushy Park and is a former proprietor of the Gretna Store. They replace the late Robert Walker as code of conduct chairman and have been appointed to serve until the next council election in 2011.

Councillor Damian Bester, who is at present the subject of a code of conduct complaint, excused himself from the meeting while this matter was being discussed. Similarly, Cr Bester absented himself from the selection committee’s deliberations, despite being appointed to that panel.

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