Mayor’s actions undergo scrutiny

Mayor’s actions undergo scrutiny

City of Gosnells mayor Glenn Dewhurst. Photograph - Juanita Shepherd.

A motion put forward by one councillor at Tuesday’s council meeting brought light to the Mayor’s ongoing breaches of the City of Gosnells Code of Conduct.

Councillor Olwen Searle proposed the motion that since Mayor Glenn Dewhurst had taken office he had breached the city’s Code of Conduct on numerous occasions.

Examples cited in the council agenda included his failure to respect the decision of council and issue the required apology after sharing a Facebook post by the group Anti-Islam Australia and allegedly harassing and intimidating both councillors and a member of the public.

Mr Dewhurst opened the meeting by making a statement in relation to the motion.

The statement read; “I regret that a number of my fellow councillors feel that some of my comments and actions have been inappropriate in my role as mayor. For this I am sorry.

“It has never been my intention to cause offence.”

Mr Dewhurst went on to say that he hoped his “statement of regret” for the way his actions and comments had been perceived would allow the council to move forward collaboratively.

When the motion came up for discussion Ms Searle asked for her motion to be removed from the agenda.

After Tuesday night’s council meeting Ms Searle told The Examiner should Mr Dewhurst not have said the words “sorry” or “regret” she would “consider getting this motion back up on the table”.

Ms Searle said the mayor needed to take personal responsibility for his actions.

“Some people find it difficult that they can never once in their life be wrong,” she said.

“I think that (the statement) was the best we were going to get out of him.

“We need now, as a council, to draw a line in the sand, don’t look back and march together, all of us working on the same page as we are required to do for the benefit of the people of the City of Gosnells.”

Ms Searle’s motion also highlighted a particular incident at a city event where Gosnells resident Leon Walker and Ms Searle were the subject of an allegedly vitriolic verbal attack by the mayor.

Mr Walker said in a public statement he was of the view the mayor’s remarks were intended to implicitly or explicitly threaten him, and/or coerce him and/or intimidate and bully him.

“It is of my opinion that the mayor’s conduct on the night breached several provisions of the city’s toothless tiger code of conduct,” he said.

“With the passage of time since Mr Dewhurst became mayor by ballot, I regret to say I am increasingly of the view that it is in the best interests of residents, ratepayers, the council, the city’s employees, and perhaps Mr Dewhurst himself, that he resign from council.”