New report details 15 complaints about sacked councillors
THE Office of the Independent Assessor received 15 complaints about former Ipswich City Council councillors in the 2018/19 financial year.
In the first Insight report released by the OIA, it details the 15 complaints pertaining to the former councillors based around breach of trust, dishonest/impartial performance of functions and conflicts of interests.
However, OIA could not quantify the instances detailed within the complaints.
The early months of the Office of the Independent Assessor have been dominated by the receipt and assessment of almost 600 complaints and shows complaints about 41 of the 77 Queensland councils.
Independent assessor Kathleen Florian said councillors failing to declare or properly manage their personal interests has been the dominant issue raised in complaints received by the OIA.
"This level of complaints has been driven by members of the community with 50 per cent of all complaints, the Crime and Corruption Commission with 26 per cent of all complaints, 20 per cent of complaints coming from local government officials and four per cent from other source," she said.
Heading up the investigatory team is member of Operation Windage, Charlie Kohl, who investigated alleged corruption in Ipswich City Council in October 2016, and Operation Belcarra which began investigations into the conduct of elected officials and operational staff for several councils, including Gold Coast, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Logan.
"Given OIA investigation workloads and the need to complete investigations in a timely manner, councillors are being offered the opportunity to fast-track matters where the allegation, or the facts underpinning the allegation, are agreed," Ms Florian said.
"These cases are now moving into the Councillor Conduct Tribunal with the aim of quick resolution."
The OIA's purpose is to report over time to inform proactive steps that can be taken by the office, the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, individual councils and councillors to address priority issues. Matters that are not fast tracked will be fully and thoroughly investigated on a priority basis.
Ipswich City Council acknowledged the OIA's process, with a spokesperson stating it was aware of the investigations.
"All complaints regarding Ipswich City Council being assessed by the Office of the Independent Assessor relate to allegations made against previous councillors," they said.
"Council is not privy to the allegations."
Councillors failing to declare or properly manage their personal interests has been the dominant issue raised in complaints received by the OIA.
OIA has also provided information to councillors regarding best practices in social media and declarations.