ON RECORD: Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi addressed a key concern this week. Photo: SDRC
ON RECORD: Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi addressed a key concern this week. Photo: SDRC

Mayor gives apology after ‘swearing about’ SDRC councillor

THE Southern Downs Mayor has apologised to a fellow councillor for "swearing about" them in conversation, only days after this same colleague gave their own redress.

According to the minutes from the Southern Downs council's general meeting last week, Mayor Vic Pennisi was the subject of an investigation report regarding inappropriate councillor conduct.

The document stated Cr Pennisi swore while discussing unspecified "behaviour" by councillor Cynthia McDonald.

"It has been found that the mayor exhibited inappropriate behaviour by swearing in the presence of Cr McDonald, and that it was in reference to Cr McDonald's behaviour, albeit not directly to her face," the minutes said.

"Conditional upon Cr Pennisi providing a sincere personal apology to Cr McDonald, (council will) take no further action against Cr Pennisi under the (Local Government Act 2009)."

Crs Pennisi and McDonald both declared a conflict of interest and left the room while the report was being discussed.

The exchange occurred within the confidential section of the council meeting, which was closed to the public.

As a result of the conflict and ensuing investigation, the remaining councillors voted in favour of all representatives undertaking further training in the "role and legislation" of a councillor.

With the conflict now resolved, Cr Pennisi told the Daily News he was remorseful for his conduct and eager to forge a new path going forward. 

"I don't swear in front of my family and it is inappropriate for me to swear in the presence of a colleague, (so) consequently it is appropriate to offer an apology," he said. 

"I have apologised to Cr McDonald for the hurt I may have caused her. Council is under a completely new set of rules and we all must comply, including me. 

"I look forward to new training that will help us all better understand this new world we live in." 

Earlier in the same meeting, Cr McDonald gave her own apology to during the open section of the council meeting regarding her comments on a "failing within (the council)" in July.

"In those remarks (on July 13), I made reference to concerns I had about certain matters within my portfolio," she said.

"Upon reflection, I acknowledge that in doing so with my usual passion for my role, I may have upset some staff members within SDRC.

"This was not my intention, and I apologise to council staff for any offence taken to those remarks."

Cr Pennisi has been contacted for comment but is yet to respond.

 

 

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