Discussion turns ugly at meeting

Discussion turns ugly at meeting

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Tension in the City of Gosnells council. Photorgraph-Richard Polden.

There was more drama, bullying allegations, nasty disagreements and a sense of tension at last week’s City of Gosnells council meeting.

At the ordinary council meeting, held on August 27, councillor Serena Williamson asked City of Gosnells mayor Glenn Dewhurst a number of questions about the way he handled his emails.

Mr Dewhurst claimed in a media release that councillors removed his personal assistant as they knew he had dyslexia and this could potentially affect his performance in council.

“They thought that by removing my admin staff I would fail and bring discredit to this city and the office of the mayor,” he said.

“They didn’t count on the level of support I have in the community and I was overwhelmed with offers of office space and admin support.”

After Ms Williamson also raised concerns of confidentiality, Mr Dewhurst said in a recent media release that his helpers had access to his emails and calendar.

Mr Dewhurst again made strong allegations of bullying and accusations against councillors directly.

In previous council meetings Mr Dewhurst was asked by councillors and members of the public to name the people in council who he claimed of bullying allegations.

“If I was in a wheel chair they would of taken that as well?” he said.

“Councillor Williamson’s attempt to have my volunteer admin support removed is another attempt of her bullying nature.”

Mr Dewhurst also said Ms Williamson and the councillor’s vote was a way to discredit, bully, hammer and attempt to pick a weakness from a person with a disability.

“This is the current council we have,” he said.

“If you have a disability don’t expect any compassion from any of our councillors.”

The Examiner also contacted Ms Williamson who said she wasn’t aware of Mr Dewhurst being medically diagnosed with Dyslexia.

“I am not aware of the mayor ever making a request for additional assistance due to this, any suggestion that the decision to continue the removal of personal assistance services was linked to Dyslexia is unfounded,” she said.

“To be honest using a disability as an excuse for poor behaviour is an insult to all those living and working with disabilities.”

“The decision to extend the removal of the personal assistance was made on August 13 following the mayor’s outburst at the council meeting, calling a member of the public ‘a chimpanzee’.”

However, Ms Williamson said she was happy to know that Mr Dewhurst notified residents that emails containing personal information or confidential information are being viewed and circulated around to community volunteers.

“As I respect our residents’ right to privacy, it is important they are aware of this and know they have an option to email the chief executive or a councillor, if they would like their emails handled in confidence,” she said.

“A ratepayer funded personal assistant is a privilege that was removed due to the mayor’s inappropriate conduct.

“Given the mayor’s history of accepting contributions from developers and China, it is concerning that he is now accepting personal assistance services free of charge and not disclosing the value of the services and who is providing it.”

Mr Dewhurst said there is more confidentiality with his volunteer admin support than at council.

“I have hand selected the volunteer team, who in their own right are ex professional people,” he said.

“Just because they are retired does not mean they stop being professional.

“These people came forward knowing I have a disability, each have been spoken to about confidentiality and the need to operate with integrity. “