A particular paragraph read out in public statement time at this month’s Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale ordinary council meeting resulted in a councillor storming out of the chambers.
Byford resident and Freeman of the shire John Kirkpatrick asked three questions at the meeting, one of which was in relation to councillor Sam Piipponen’s comments in The Examiner on April 4 where he described the council’s communication as ‘toxic’ and ‘non-existent’.
Before Mr Kirkpatrick could ask his question, councillor Rob Coales raised a point of order of which Shire President Michelle Rich ignored, allowing the question to be read in full.
In public statement time Mr Coales again raised a point of order before Mr Kirkpatrick’s statement was read.
The shire president again refused this order which resulted in Mr Coales storming out of the chambers before returning after the statement had been read out in front of the packed public gallery.
Since the meeting, Mr Coales said he has made a complaint to the chief executive in relation to Ms Rich’s decisions.
“I feel the statements and questions were defamatory towards councillor Sam Piipponen,” he said.
“Whilst I respect her decision at the time, and it is her prerogative as a presiding member, I believe the policy needs to be confirmed because it seems there is continued persistence of questions being asked and statements being made that are objectively inappropriate and defamatory to some councillors.”
Mr Piipponen was not at the meeting, after giving an apology.