RATES ISSUE: Brodie Moss said the letter of concern received by his group will strengthen community discontent.
RATES ISSUE: Brodie Moss said the letter of concern received by his group will strengthen community discontent. Sam Flanagan

Ratepayer group receives legal letter from council CEO

"CODSWALLOP" is the word Western Downs Regional Council chief executive officer Ross Musgrove has used to describe comments made about him on a Facebook page for annoyed ratepayers.

At his own expense, Mr Musgrove has sent a solicitor's letter to the Western Downs Concerned Rate Payers group over comments made on their Facebook page.

Mr Musgrove, who spoke to The Dalby Herald from Portugal where he is on holiday, said the letter of concern asked the group to correct comments on their page that he believed were incorrect.

Mr Musgrove said the group's page suggested he had approved his own "building application" for his vacant land in Dalby.

"The claims are complete codswallop," Mr Musgrove said.

"There has not been a building application, nor have I made a decision about the land."


Lee Bermingham (QCV Pty Ltd), Ross Musgrove (Western Downs Regional Council), David Stock (rt Health).
Western Downs Regional Council CEO, Ross Musgrove (centre). Ange Stirling Photography

Western Downs Concerned Rate Payers was created four months ago. The group has four administrators and their page is liked by more than 1000 people.

The group formed in reaction to the council rate rise last year but has morphed into a group that focuses on a wide range of council related issues.

On January 9, the group released a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in Mr Musgrove as chief executive, asking his employment with the council be terminated.

Group spokesperson Brodie Moss said he believed the letter of concern was an attempt to silence those who criticised council.

"I think it (the letter) is a form of trying to shut down freedom of speech," Mr Moss said.

"The comments made on the page are nothing more than information the public can access.

"I think names of people and phrases (mentioned in the letter of concern) have been taken out of context."

Mr Moss said his group would stand by their Facebook page and stated the letter would only strengthen their resolve.

"(The page) originally started as a rates issue but the more this rolls along, the more issues that come to light," he said.

"I think this (the letter) has only strengthened the community's discontent."

Mayor Paul McVeigh threw his support behind Mr Musgrove, saying he was a man who "loves the Western Downs".

"As mayor, I have extreme confidence in our CEO," CrMcVeigh said.

"He is very much a valued part of our council and our community."

Cr McVeigh said he was disappointed with the issue and said untrue comments on social media were not helpful to the region.

"Facebook is a great tool for communication but when it is used to make false accusations it needs to stop," he said.