Misconduct findings hit councillors
BRISBANE city councillors on both sides of the chamber have been found to have committed misconduct in separate probes by the councillor conduct review panel.
LNP councillor for Calamvale ward Angela Owen was found to have engaged in misconduct over her use of council's Cabcharge system, with the panel ordering her to apologise to councillors at the next meeting.
And Labor opposition leader Jared Cassidy, the councillor for Deagon ward, has been fined over $3000 by the panel after refusing to leave a council meeting when instructed by the council chair, resulting in police being called to escort him out.
Both are running for re-election at the March 28 poll.
Cr Owen said yesterday there had been no policy concerning the use of Cabcharge cards at the time she was issued the card.
The offending expenses included three fares over two days in 2018-19 to travel to or from Boondall, for a total cost of at least $400.
"Last year I reassessed my trips against a new policy that did not exist at the time the trips were taken," she said.
"Where the trips retrospectively did not meet the new policy, I repaid the amounts."
She said she would abide by the orders of the conduct review panel, which included that she make an apology at the next council meeting if re-elected, as well as a written apology to councillor Peter Cumming who was the complainant.
It had previously been revealed that Cr Owen had used her Cabcharge card to the tune of thousands of dollars since March 2016, including trips for council business.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced last year new guidelines would require councillors to use Cabcharge cards only when on official business.
Meanwhile, the panel found Cr Cassidy had failed to comply with a direction from the chair of council to leave a meeting held on November 12, when police were called to escort him from the room.
He had been asked to leave the chamber by council chair Andrew Wines after saying the words "crock of sh--" in the middle of a vote, while claiming he was quoting an LNP councillor.
Cr Cassidy today defended his actions, insisting he had been fined for defending residents' right to know.
He claimed the council meeting had been shut down in an effort to hide which councillors, senior staff and family members are getting secret council contracts.
"Brisbane residents deserve answers, and I will keep fighting to expose the truth," he said.
"Why won't (the Lord Mayor) tell the people of Brisbane who is getting these secret contracts?"
The administration has previously suggested this information is available from the council CEO.
The panel handed down its decisions for both matters this month, with both councillors ordered to be counselled by council CEO Colin Jensen.
Originally published as Misconduct findings hit councillors