By Dominique Tassell
Consideration of Stanthorpe Sports Association’s (SSA) lease in today’s Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) meeting has kicked off with multiple councillors declaring a conflict of interest and one councillor being kicked out of the room.
CEO Dave Burges briefed the room on the legal advice, which stated that the agreement between SSA and councillors to endorse councillors based on their response may be seen by the public to influence their vote.
Councillors Cynthia McDonald, Andrew Gale, Stephen Tancred, Marco Gliori, and Ross Bartley declared a conflict of interest for the motion.
Councillor McDonald stated that Stanthorpe Sports Association’s Facebook post may lead members of the public to believe she is biased.
She asked to stay in the room.
Mayor Vic Pennisi stated he believed she could be impartial.
Councillor Tancred stated that he was declaring a conflict out of an “abundance of caution”.
He requested to stay in the room for and be able to vote on the motion.
The Mayor stated it was in the public interest to let Councillor Tancred vote.
Councillor Jo McNally spoke against Councillor Tancred staying in the room, stating he had spoken out in the form of a letter to the editor which contains “manipulated” info.
She stated that his actions could lead members of the public to think he would vote against the public interest.
Councillor Tancred replied that he was free to state his opinion publicly and was also free to change his mind.
It was also confirmed that he made clear the letter contained his own personal views.
Councillors McNally and Windle voted against Councillor Tancred staying in the room.
The Mayor and Councillor Gow voted for him remaining in the room.
As it couldn’t be decided, Councillor Tancred will not be allowed to stay in the room.
Councillor Gale then asked to stay in the room, stating he would like to do the duty the community has elected him to do.
The Mayor spoke in support of Councillor Gale staying in the room, with Councillors McNally, Gow, and Windle voted in support of this.
Councillor Gliori requested to stay in the room, which was once again supported by the room.
Councillor Bartley stated he beloved he could perform his duties in an unbiased manner, requesting to stay in the room.
The Mayor once more stated he supported this, which was supported by the room.
More to come.