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Logan's advocates are preparing for the minister's decision on their fate


April 27, 2019 16:35:48

The last four remaining Logan City advisers – Lisa Bradley, Darren Sinner, Jon Raven and Lori Koransky – have acknowledged they could lose their jobs in anticipation of eight colleagues playing.

In what was termed "unprecedented" and "unmanaged waters" for the Queensland Commission on Crime and Corruption (CCC), eight out of 12 Logan advisers and former mayor Luke Smith were charged with 14 criminal acts on Friday with their time in public office.

All acting mayors Chery Daly and associates Russell Luton, Steven Swenson, Phil Pidgon, Trevina Schwartz, Jenny Brienne and Laurie Smith were charged with deception over the dismissal of former Chief Executive Officer of Logan Sharon Kelsey in early 2018.

The Logan City Council issued a statement Friday afternoon, saying "according to the Law on Local Self-Government, mayors and councilors accused of integrity-related offenses are automatically suspended."

More than 24 hours after the charges were brought, the Minister of Local Self-Government, Stirling Hinckleft, still seeks advice on the future of the Logan City Council.

Mr Hinchliffe on Friday admitted that firing the entire council and appointing an administration would be an option.

"Absolute baptism of fire"

Adviser Koransky said that all four remaining elected officials understood the implications of their actions when they emerged during the CPA investigation.

"Whatever fate may come our way, we are ready for that," she said.

"I am the first counselor elected in 2017 and this is the absolute baptism of fire."

Advisor Bradley said he hoped the minister would show mercy.

"We hope that the minister will take into account that we were informants and the community does not believe that we should be punished because we are informants," she said.

Adviser Raven said he understood that Hinckleyf had now a tough decision and that the other counselors would lose their jobs.

"We will support the decision with which it will come out," he said.

"The right to a presumption of innocence"

Meanwhile, the Queensland Local Government Association (LGAQ) criticized the KSS, arguing that the issue should have been resolved as an industrial relations dispute, not a criminal issue.

LGAQ Chief Executive Greg Hallam said this has now "huge implications" for industrial relations in Queensland.

"It goes far beyond the local government," Halam said.

"Anyone who is the director of the company or the board should now consider through the possibility of being accused of fraud."

LGAQ continues to support the eight advisors who are now facing criminal charges.

"We will obviously not be involved in the individual defense of these people, but we believe that they are – like any other person charged with a criminal offense – who has the right to a presumption of innocence," Halam said.

LGAQ "off the line," said the councilor

But the rest counselor Darren Power said he believes LGAQ should also be examined as part of this issue.

"What happened yesterday is a criminal matter, so I think LGAQ is now out of the line to get involved here," he said.

The other four advisers have vowed to continue serving their divisions until a decision is made.

Adviser Koransky said he would not go down without a fight, even if the council was put into administration.

"I am sure that from the ash the phoenix will increase and the four of us will return in 2020," said Cr Koransky.

One of the most significant studies of CCC

CCC chairman Alan MacPopran announced on Friday that the investigation is one of the most significant ever undertaken by the CPA.

"This is the first time in our knowledge of the agency's 30-year history that the eight elected officials from the same unit of public administration are subject to such charges," said Mr MacSporran.

Sharon Kelsey was dismissed for seven months as chief executive of the council in February 2018, with the councilors voting 7-5 at that time to resolve Ms Kelsey at the end of her six-month trial.

She led her case to the Commission for Industrial Relations in Queensland, with Commissioner John Thomson to hand over the historic decision that Ms Kelsey would be returned in May 2018.

Mr Smith is also accused of fraud and misconduct contrary to public office.

The CCC argues that Mr Smith has set a check on Mrs Kelsey's probationary period "completely disingenuous" and has also attempted to win another employee by failing to pass the proper recruitment process.

Mr Smith was suspended last year for other legal issues relating to his time as mayor.

Eight counselors received a bail on Friday and are due to appear in court later in May.


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First published

April 27, 2019 16:15:03

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