The City Governance Committee held the July meeting today with one of the agenda items being that of a Councillor Conduct Investigation.
Division One councillor, Lisa Bradley, had two complaints made against her which was referred to Council for investigation by the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA).
The complaints were dated 2 February and 7 February 2023.
On 23 February 2023 Mr Darren Scott, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Logan City Council, received a letter (Referral Notice) from the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) advising that the OIA had received and considered two complaints about the conduct of Councillor Lisa Bradley concerning two posts made to her Councillor social media Facebook page regarding the launch of her book and journal.
The OIA advised in its Referral Notice that the allegations may have breached a policy and procedure of the Logan City Council and in doing so may have breached Section 150K( 1 )(b) of the Local Government Act 2009 (the Act) and that it reasonably suspected the complaint involved inappropriate conduct.
The complaints allege that Councillor Lisa Bradley engaged in inappropriate conduct contrary to the Act when she posted on her ‘Councillor Lisa Bradley’ social media account two posts relating to the launch of the “Living your ultimate life – Modelling your Mindset for Success Journal”.
The posts are alleged to be inappropriate and involve a breach of the behavioural standards of the Code of Conduct for Councillors in Queensland (Code).
In accordance with the CCCI Policy and Procedure, Council engaged an external investigator, Ray Burton Consulting, to undertake the investigation at a cost to rate payers of $4,650.00 (exc GST).
As required by section 150AG of the Act, Council needed to decide whether Cr Bradley had engaged in inappropriate conduct and, if so, what action would be taken under section 150AH of the Act.
After the external investigator concluded their report, they recommended that Logan City Council accept the findings in the investigation report that, on the balance of probabilities, Councillor Lisa Bradley has engaged in inappropriate conduct.
That pursuant to section 150AH(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 2009, Council make:
a. an order that Councillor Lisa Bradley make a public admission that the Councillor has engaged in inappropriate conduct;
b. an order reprimanding Councillor Lisa Bradley for the conduct;
c. an order that if Councillor Lisa Bradley engages in the same type of conduct again, it will be treated as misconduct and referred to the Office of the Independent Assessor;
d. an order that Councillor Lisa Bradley reimburse Council for 35% of the costs arising from the investigation into the Councillor’s inappropriate conduct.
As part of the report, Cr Bradly was given her chance to give her written statement to the external investigator.
Some points from Cr Bradley’s statement read:
“I wholeheartedly take responsibility for posting on social media, however, I do not believe I have breached anything, rather acting in the public interest. I apologise unreservedly if Councillors deem otherwise. My motives have never been driven by money or ego, hence why profit proceeds were intended for charity prior to my social media post. I do not benefit financially from my book or journal. To date, all Royalties for the book and journal have been donated to Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.
“I 100% confirm I posted Sunday 29 January 2023 in relation to my book and journal. The Mayor was aware of my impending announcement. I had also spoken to Council’s City Solicitor prior to this time.
“It was in the public interest, as I had mentioned my ‘book writing’ on social media for over two years, referring to it every time I went on leave.
“Historically, I have posted significant milestones which may be deemed personal in the public interest, like my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, my father’s passing, or the birth of my granddaughter. I saw my book and journal launch as no different, specifically as I do not benefit personally from it.
“There are numerous examples of Councillors, State and Federal members posting personal posts. The public love this more personable touch, as they did my launch post.
“I had every intention of simultaneously making an announcement that I would not recontest in the next Council in 2024. However, after a conversation with Council’s City Solicitor, and impending criminal legal matters, I was convinced otherwise.
“Whilst my book and journal may be perceived as personal, they would not have eventuated had I not been a Councillor, and specifically what I endured last term. In writing, Council denied me a safe environment, as “I was not an employee”. In my mind, the book and journal are effectively a by-product of the toxic work environment experienced last term. They are a documentation of my healing journey when Council refused to provide me with a safe environment. They are essentially a testament to the sorts of pressures local government politicians may face as a result of their vocation, particularly politicians who are women, and those who are witnesses to potential crime.”
In a lengthy meeting, the councillors debated and discussed the motions regarding Cr Bradley and voted on all items.
It was deemed that Cr Bradley, in the opinions of her peers, she has not engaged in inappropriate conduct.
Cr Willcocks voted against the motion while the remaining councillors were all for. Cr Koranski and Cr Bradley were not in the room for the vote.
After many hours of time for all involved and at an external cost of $4,650.00 (exc GST), no further action will be taken against Cr Lisa Bradley.