IN SESSION: SDRC councillors in livestreamed meeting. Photo: SDRC
IN SESSION: SDRC councillors in livestreamed meeting. Photo: SDRC

SDRC councillor gives apology for outspoken comment

A SOUTHERN Downs councillor has issued a public apology after an outspoken comment at a previous council meeting seemingly landed her in hot water.

At the sustainable development, corporate, and community service committee meeting on July 13, councillor Cynthia McDonald said she received a complaint the previous weekend about her agricultural portfolio.

She told the council she was unable to disclose details due to the subject matter, though argued it was reflective of a "failing within (the council)".

"If there is a systemic failure within an organisation, I think it needs to be pointed out by the board of directors and I think it needs to be brought forward," Cr McDonald said.

"I give credit where credit is due and will always give that credit. And, if I believe somebody has failed in their job, I will also tell you that you have failed.

"In future, ladies and gentlemen, I think if somebody does give criticism, I think we need to look and think 'perhaps I didn't do so well, perhaps I should fix up what the problem is'."



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There was no further mention of the matter in any public council proceedings until this week's ordinary meeting, where Cr McDonald told her fellow councillors she wished to make an apology.

"In those remarks (on July 13), I made reference to concerns I had about certain matters within my portfolio," she said.

"Upon reflection, I acknowledge that in doing so with my usual passion for my role, I may have upset some staff members within SDRC.

"This was not my intention, and I apologise to council staff for any offence taken to those remarks."

Mayor Vic Pennisi excused himself from the room for the duration of the discussion, though later praised Cr McDonald for taking the path of "earlier resolution" with the complaint.

"It's a complaint we are both party to, which is why I left the room," Cr Pennisi said.

"The reason I left was it could be deemed that I am trying to influence my colleague by staying in the room and commenting on what she's saying.

"With new changes to local government legislation, it's not about being gutless or not having the spine to make decisions, it's about trying to comply."

No clarification on the nature of the investigation was given at that time.

Cr McDonald was contacted for further information on the complaint, but did not respond by the Daily News' deadline.



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