Mayor's misconduct in Minister's lens
The current and previous mayors of Sydney's Hurstville Council are being pursued over possible misconduct.
The News South Wales Government says it is chasing both the mayors after allegations that codes of conduct were breached.
The allegations related to a series of events in 2015, when Hurstville Council's then-mayor Con Hindi stood down his general manager Victor Lampe.
Mr Lampe was sacked not long after recommending that Councillor Hindi be fined and possibly prosecuted over the discovery of asbestos at a property he owned at Mortdale.
The Mayor – who is also a property developer - allegedly used his official title to sign off menacing emails to a neighbour who had complained about the Mortdale property redevelopment.
There were also claims made relating to the dumping and or removal of asbestos, illegal demolition work and a lack of development consent at the site.
At the time, Cr Hindi denied he suspended Mr Lampe because of the adverse report, claiming instead that it was because of a complaint made against the GM by a young female staffer.
Local Government Minister Paul Toole was called on to intervene, and ordered a report which found that if the council acted inappropriately when suspending Mr Lampe, he should immediately return to work.
“Consideration should be given to carrying out an investigation into the conduct of Cr Hindi to determine if any conduct breaches have occurred,” the Local Government minister’s report also stated.
Cr Hindi remains on Hurstville Council but has been replaced as mayor by Vince Badalati.
It was revealed this week that Cr Badalati is also being pursued for possible misconduct, after reports that he and Cr Hindi may have misused legal advice in their suspension of Mr Lampe.
The Office of Local Government has started an investigation.
“Where serious concerns warrant investigation, we will fully investigate them,” Mr Toole said this week.
“The community deserves the highest standard of conduct by councillors as their elected representatives.”