Department finds Loft guilty again for inappropriate conduct
FRASER Coast Mayor Chris Loft has again been found guilty by the State Government of inappropriate conduct after he publicly claimed fellow councillors had a conflict of interest with the controversial sports precinct.
During the new Fraser Coast Regional Council's first public discussion about the precinct since he took the mayoralty earlier this year, Cr Loft said councillors Stuart Taylor and Daniel Sanderson should not be able to vote on the project due to their involvement with football.
Cr Loft then said he would make a complaint to the Department of Local Government, accusing Crs Sanderson and Taylor of misconduct.
TOP FRASER COAST STORIES
That public comment prompted Cr Taylor to lodge his own complaint to the department about Cr Loft's conduct.
Last week department director general Frankie Carroll found Cr Loft displayed inappropriate conduct by making public criticism of colleagues.
Mr Carroll reprimanded Cr Loft "for the inappropriate conduct" and warned against any future criticism of Crs Sanderson and Taylor.
"Any repeat of the inappropriate conduct, that being public criticism by councillor Loft of councillors Stuart Taylor and Daniel Sanderson, when they have properly declared and dealt with a conflict of interest, (will) be referred to a regional conduct review panel as misconduct," he said.
Cr Loft's complaint of a conflict of interest involving Crs Sanderson and Taylor was dismissed by the Department of Local Government last week.
Cr Taylor previously described Cr Loft's public statement as "tacky and shows poor leadership" with the "desire to shut down debate on this issue (sports precinct)".
"The personal attacks and the threats of reporting people to local government authorities is a bit disappointing," Cr Taylor said after Cr Loft's comment.
The latest charge marks the third time in two-and-a- half years Cr Loft has been found guilty of inappropriate conduct on the councillor complaints register.
The register is kept in the office of the chief executive and documents the conduct of councillors.
In February 2014, Cr Loft was found guilty of inappropriate conduct after sending an email which described Fraser Coast Opportunities as a cancer that needed to be cut out.
The second time he was placed on the register he was found to have disclosed information about a vacancy in FCO prior to the position being advertised. He was again reprimanded for inappropriate conduct and advised that any repeat would be treated as misconduct.
The Fraser Coast Regional council was also forced to settle out of court after Cr Loft was found to have made an inappropriate comment to a woman during an FCO job interview.
A Chronicle investigation revealed Cr Loft asked the candidate how she would perform in the role "as a mother of three young children".
The candidate took Cr Loft's comment to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland which found the comment inappropriate.
The Chronicle understands the complainant accepted a $2000 payment from the council and did not proceed with the matter through the court system.
For two separate issues involving the use of emails, councillor Darren Everard is on the complaints register for inappropriate conduct twice.
Cr Taylor is the only other councillor on the register.
He was reprimanded by the Department of Local Government after publicly criticising Cr Loft.
Cr Loft did not respond
to questions from the Fraser Coast Chronicle about his conduct record and the latest decision criticising him.