Mount Isa Mayor forced to make apology over sackings

Mayor Joyce  McCulloch was found guilty of threatening or causing detriment to a council employee and interfering with the recruitment of an applicant.
Mayor Joyce McCulloch was found guilty of threatening or causing detriment to a council employee and interfering with the recruitment of an applicant.

Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch was forced to apologise to council over a disciplinary matter but waited until the public gallery left before making the apology.

The Regional Conduct Review Panel upheld two out of five complaints about “allegations made about the Mayor’s conduct” which a council spokesperson described as “a misunderstanding between (the) Mayor and a former staff member.”

Cr McCulloch was found guilty of threatening or causing detriment to a council employee and interfering with the recruitment of an applicant.

She was fined almost $2000 and ordered to undergo counselling. The panel also ordered she make a written apology to the former staff member and an admission of error and apology at yesterday's council meeting.

A huge crowd filled the public gallery at Wednesday’s council meeting but the Mayor did not front up for the public session with Deputy Mayor Phil Barwick saying she was detained elsewhere with the CEO and would be a half hour late.

However the public session of the Council meeting ended just before 1pm with no sign of the Mayor.

The North West Star tried to contact Mayor McCulloch to ask why she did not make the apology in open session but in a statement provided by council she said “As per requirements of the Panel, I have apologised to my Council.”

“These allegations to me at the time were a surprise, and are certainly not indicative of how I conduct myself as the Mayor of this city,” Cr McCulloch said in the statement.

“I will continue to provide good leadership for this Council and the community. I’m here to make a positive impact to our community as we are facing a number of challenges and are having to be more innovative and efficient in our operations.”

Deputy Mayor Phil Barwick said all councillors have united to support the Mayor, and remain confident in her ability to provide good governance.

“While it was disappointing that allegations were made and some sustained, as far as we are concerned the Mayor conducts herself in an appropriate manner,” Cr Barwick said.

“She was elected to this role as she is the best person for the job, and the sheer amount of positive changes she has led to council to make and the State and Federal funding that has been received under her leadership is testament to that.”