Editorial: Campbell found verbally abusive and harassing

An independent reviewer of a code of conduct applied against Cr Ron Campbell found that “Councilor Campbell’s conduct constituted a form of verbal abuse” and “also constituted an incident of harassment”.

What Cr Campbell Did:

Last year, as I sat puzzled watching another Council meeting where they couldn’t figure out how to handle a point of order, Cr Ron Campbell sat angrily staring at me for several minutes before turning to raise and interrupt the debates.

Cr Campbell: “Mister Mayor, a point of order, not on this matter, are you sure there are no other recordings going on, of this council meeting?” “I just noticed our particular person (gesturing towards me) sitting there. I was wondering if they were making a recording. How, how can we be sure that this is not being respected? “

Mayor Bedggood: “Okay so this is not a valid point of order at this stage of the process, if you have any concerns about it you would talk to the CEO, or if you had hard evidence, you could lift them up and we ‘d address it. So, do you have tangible proof of… ”

I offered to check my laptop and phone, to show that there were no records, but the offer was ignored.

Council meetings are audio-recorded, so if I need to verify quotes, I can just get a copy from Council; but God knows having to listen to these meetings once is horrible enough without wanting to endure them again or take up space on my phone. But logic enough, Cr Campbell continued with his rant.

Cr Campbell: “No, just the fact that the same thing happened in D&E and I had just the reason why when it is reported to a particular reporter it is never reported, reported in full context. . “

Mayor Bedggood: “This is irrelevant, Counselor, so unless you have a valid complaint we cannot respond to it. “

Initiation of the code of conduct:

To be clear, I never recorded a Council meeting, as it is not necessary and while I found the typical bizarre and aggressive behavior of Cr Campbell, it was also typical of the larger behavior that I did. have seen from councilors using their position and council meetings. in a hostile manner towards other councilors and sometimes towards members of the general public who were not even present at the meeting, so I decided not to let it go and hold Cr Campbell to account.

One route could have been libel, but honestly, it’s long and expensive (at least $ 250,000 minimum in legal fees just to start a case) and rarely worth worrying about. Instead, I filed a code of conduct complaint against Cr Campbell.

The code of conduct has been taken out of the hands of the Board and handed over to an independent reviewer. The examiner discovered that Cr Campbell had broken the code and further stated that his behavior was “verbally abusive” and “constituted an incident of harassment”. The examiner asked Cr Campbell to apologize, but advised Cr Campbell “that he has indicated that he will refuse to do so”. (See more details on the results at the end of this story).

Behavior of other advisers during meetings:

Just months after Cr Campbell’s offense, another adviser made humiliating comments about a private matter tenant in their own rental property, at a public meeting of the Council. The comments were strangely irrelevant, did not form part of the Council business agenda, and the badly talked about tenant was not present at the meeting or was not involved in Council business. any way.

In 2018, at a council meeting discussing the local swimming pool, Cr Fisher named someone who had been convicted of a felony, but did not have the parliamentary privilege to do so: Editorial: Two words – the public had a lot of them. Scone.com.au is aware of another code of conduct applied against Cr Fisher by a member of the public, for which, after the review, Cr Fisher apologized.

Cr Abbott has been the subject of several codes of conduct which she says were contributed by other advisers to prevent her from speaking to the media. In a code of conduct filed against Cr Abbott, the Council claimed in its business documents that it was a “security problem” (Council plot thickens). However, Cr Abbott was in no danger of breaking any laws, simply breaking the Council’s own media policy which had prevented her from speaking publicly without the express permission of the CEO or the mayor. Advisers do not have the legal right to prevent advisers from speaking to the media.

The behavior of councilors at council meetings is a concern and last night Councilor Campbell, during the vote versus training and a policy on gender equity, puts it best when he said: “I also suggest that each of us have a responsibility to abide by this code of conduct and these meeting practices” .

If only he kept his word!

Elizabeth flaherty

Publisher, scone.com.au

Conclusions of the Independent Review of Cr Campbell’s Behavior:

The independent review of Cr Campbell’s conduct determined that:

I. Councilor Campbell’s conduct in inferring publicly, without substantial evidence, that you, a local reporter, were or had inappropriately recorded Council meetings and accusing you of failing to report Council business in its full context, was conduct likely to bring himself and the Council into disrepute (paragraph 3.1 (a)).

ii. The term “our particular person” has been used publicly and in a derogatory manner towards you., and Councilor Campbell raised a point of order that could have been dealt with more confidentially or indirectly, for example, asking the mayor to remind everyone present that recording of council proceedings was prohibited (clause 3.1 (vs)) .

iii. Councilor Campbell’s conduct was a form of verbal abuse towards you by publicly accusing you of prohibited acts and by alleging that you, as a journalist, did not properly report Council activities (clause 3.1 (e)). The conduct also constituted an incident of harassment in that you stated that you found the comments made by Councilor Campbell at the general council meeting to be undesirable, demeaning, and you said that this added to the hostile environment that exists between you and certain councilors, including including Councilor Campbell (clauses 3.1 (g) and 3.6). The investigation revealed that a reasonable person may find Councilor Campbell’s conduct undesirable, demeaning and hostile.

iv. Driving was reckless as to the consequences that could result from the comments made. To infer inappropriate conduct without substantial proof was conduct that could harm you. Advisor Campbell’s actions were likely to damage your reputation and credibility as a journalist. Councilor Campbell did not act with care and diligence in relation to the public charges he brought against you (article 3.2).

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