REVEALED: Councillor to apologise for mail scandal
COUNCILLOR Denis Chapman will publicly apologise at the next council meeting after he was named as the culprit behind an in-house mail tampering scandal.
New details published on the Fraser Coast Regional Council complaints register reveal the infrastructure councillor removed a parcel from councillor Paul Truscott's mail tray, photographed the contents and forwarded the pictures to another councillor last year.
On Monday, the Local Government Regional Conduct Review Panel ordered Cr Chapman to undergo counselling for his behaviour and apologise to his colleagues and the community.
He has also been fined $1200.
A spokesman from the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs said the panel also ordered Cr Chapman to be monitored by the department for compliance with the Local Government Act.
"Under section 180 of the Local Government Act 2009 the maximum monetary penalty is an amount of not more than 50 penalty units," the spokesman said.
"As the value of a penalty unit is $126.15, the maximum penalty is $6,307.50."
Asked if other internal matters were still under investigation, the spokesman said he could not comment.
Last year, council CEO Ken Diehm confirmed an investigation had been launched in response to allegations Cr Truscott's mail tray had been tampered with.
The issue led to a motion for secure and lockable mail trays to be installed for councillors being carried at the meeting.
At the time, Cr Truscott told the Chronicle it was a "despicable, low act" and an action that was "dishonourable, untrustworthy and shows a lack of integrity and respect."
But in a statement yesterday, Cr Truscott said:
This matter was referred to an Independent disciplinary tribunal and determined to be misconduct on part of the Councillor in question.
I acknowledge the findings of this tribunal and now seek to move forward.
I just want to do my job and serve the Fraser Coast.
I have previously noted my concerns in relation to this breach of trust and don't wish to make any additional comment.
Councillor Chapman was contacted for comment but did not respond.