IT appears state government officials were responsible for the last eight month delay in finalising the code of conduct dispute involving Singleton Council and deputy mayor Paul Nichols.
The council’s general manager Lindy Hyam told The Argus yesterday: “In informal discussions with the division of local government after the Supreme Court result last December, it was implied the original complaint was still alive and this was formally confirmed later.
“I sought clarification on a range of issues, but did not request an investigation by the division.
“I had never had an external reviewer’s report quashed before so I asked questions on the status of the original complaint and how we progress the matter in terms of the complicated regulations.”
Mrs Hyam said she assumed the council’s involvement in the issue ended when a spokesman for the government’s Premier and Cabinet division of local government said they would investigate.
“Then they sent a letter calling for a report from council on existing information,” she said.
“I want to make it clear that the government deemed the original complaint alive after I sought advice on how to bring the matter to a conclusion expediently, fairly and at least cost as it had already caused much stress and cost council and the community a lot.”
The division’s chief executive Ross Woodward eventually threw out the complaint four days ago.
He said he had considered the original complaint and a departmental report following a misbehaviour investigation, and decided to take no further action and close the original complaint.
He said there was insufficient evidence (to imply) Cr Nichols had breached the code.