Sacked Logan Councillors
Sacked Logan Councillors

Major relief for whistleblower councillors

A COMPLAINT that Logan's whistleblowing councillors broke the rules by secretly recording meetings that were later handed to corruption investigators has been tossed out.

The complaint dates back to June 2018, and targeted several former Logan councillors who have since been publicly identified as having helped uncover allegations of corrupt activity at the council.

Former councillors Laurie Koranski, Darren Power, Jon Raven and Lisa Bradley have been given spots on the council's Interim Management Committee following public recognition of their role in assisting the corruption probe.

It followed the entire council being sacked in May following the Crime and Corruption Commission charging suspended mayor Luke Smith and seven other councillors with fraud over the controversial February 2018 dismissal of chief executive officer Sharon Kelsey.

Smith and the seven - Cherie Dalley, Russell Lutton, Steve Swenson, Phil Pidgeon, Trevina Schwarz, Jennie Breene and Laurie Smith - have denied the allegations and will defend the charges.

The CCC alleges the sacking of Ms Kelsey months after reporting corruption suspicions to investigators about Smith was unlawful and caused her a $100,000 detriment.

Ms Kelsey is also suing Smith and the councillors in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

The Courier-Mail can reveal some of the five councillors who voted against Ms Kelsey's sacking had begun making recordings of council meetings due to suspicions of corrupt conduct.

 

From left, Lisa Bradley, Darren Power, Jon Raven and Laurie Koranski have been vindicated by the Office of the Independent Assessor.
From left, Lisa Bradley, Darren Power, Jon Raven and Laurie Koranski have been vindicated by the Office of the Independent Assessor.

 

The recordings were later handed to the CCC, as well as to the QIRC in response to an order.

The CCC later received a complaint alleging Crs Koranski, Power and Raven broke the rules by recording legal briefings and council meetings, then disclosing them to Ms Kelsey's lawyers.

It was referred to the state's new Office of the Independent Assessor, which today confirmed it had completed its investigation and had decided to take no further action.

The office found no indication the information was supplied to another party before the QIRC order to produce the material.

While the office said the recordings of meetings between October 2017 and February 2018 were in breach of council's local laws, it found they directly related to a public interest disclosure about the possible commission of a criminal offence by other councillors, and those councillors have since been charged.

Independent assessor Kathleen Florian said: "Further investigation of the matter was an unjustifiable use of resources, as any recordings made related to matters of significant public interest and the councillor had an overriding statutory obligation... to ensure that council decision making was effective, transparent and in the public interest."