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Posted on November 23, 2023

Northern Midlands Mayor Mary Knowles has dismissed calls on her to resign by fellow councillor Andrew McCullagh as a continuation of his long-running campaign against her and the Council’s General Manager.

“I am very confident proper processes have been followed at all times regarding the use of Council funds to obtain independent legal advice and assistance,” Mayor Knowles said.

“I want to put it firmly on the record that I have acted appropriately, in good faith and in accordance with Local Government Act in bringing a Code of Conduct complaint and as Mayor, I am entitled to obtain legal advice and have those costs paid for by Council,” Mayor Knowles said.

“I confirm that, together with the Deputy Mayor, I have lodged a Code of Conduct complaint against Councillor McCullagh,” Mayor Knowles said.

“The complaint was lodged as a last resort after having attempted to counsel Councillor McCullagh on his obligations as a Councillor to comply with the Code of Conduct and to express my view that his behaviour towards the General Manager falls short of the standards expected of elected members in the modern context.

“The complaint was prepared with independent legal advice in connection with my functions and powers as Mayor under section 27(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 (Tas) to promote good governance by and within the Council, to lead and participate in the monitoring of the performance of the General Manager and to liaise with the General Manager on the performance and exercise of his functions and powers in supporting the Council.”

Mayor Knowles said the public should take Councillor McCullagh’s comments about Council’s legal defence costs in the media this week with a grain of salt as it was his actions which were costing ratepayers money due to his behaviour.

Mayor Knowles said that in a series of court actions over the past two years the outcomes were:

  • Mr McCullagh was fined $300 and costs awarded against him in a Contempt of Supreme Court proceeding
  • In relation to the action over the unauthorised use of the Council Logo, she understands Mr McCullagh had pleaded guilty in the Magistrate’s Court to this offence.
  • Mr McCullagh appealed to TASCAT against the Council’s decision to sell the Town Hall in Campbell Town however TASCAT upheld Council’s decision and awarded costs against Mr McCullagh.

For further information, please contact Mayor Mary Knowles OAM on 0408 766 625.