For councillor Reg Kidd, sorry seems to be the hardest word to say

CODE OF SILENCE: Councillor Reg Kidd is yet to apologise for code of conduct breaches that have cost Orange ratepayers $58,000.Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0223sgtree2ALMOST a year after he breached Orange City Council’s code of conduct with his questioning of a report by respected corporate services director Kathy Woolley, councillor Reg Kidd is yet to utter a public apology and ratepayers have been left with a $58,000 bill.
Nanjing Night Net

That is how much it cost for council staff and a code of conduct review panel, headed by a solicitor, to take written and oral statements from staff and councillors and for the panel to adjudicate the matter.

At last week’s meeting councillors voted to sanction Cr Kidd and tabled a page-long motion calling on him to apologise in open council for the comments made in March 2014 about Ms Woolley’s report on funding for Racing Orange.

Cr Kidd was also breached for declaring an interest in the item but failing to leave the chamber immediately, without making further comment, as the local government code of conduct requires.

Since Wednesday the Central Western Daily has tried numerous times without success to contact the usually forthcoming councillor.

We wanted to ask Cr Kidd whether he accepted he had breached the code and would publicly apologise to Ms Woolley.

We also wanted to ask whether he was contrite, whether he thought ratepayers would appreciate the $58,000 bill and whether he thought an earlier mea culpa and apology in the public chamber could have saved ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars.

But try as we might, by landline, mobile phone and email, we could not contact Cr Kidd to get his side of the story.

Several councillors contacted by the CWD were dismayed at the cost of enforcing the code of behaviour but were reluctant to discuss how the code should be policed in the future until Cr Kidd had had an opportunity to respond to their motion.

That opportunity will come at next week’s meeting. Council papers to be released today are expected to list councillor Kidd’s response as an agenda item for open council.

Mayor John Davis could not be reached last night for his take on Cr Kidd’s conduct but council spokesman Nick Redmond said Cr Kidd’s contrition was a matter for him.

“If it’s listed on council’s agenda he will either speak or not speak, that’s up to Cr Kidd,” Mr Redmond said.

He said the identity of the person lodging the original code of conduct complaint would remain confidential, as local government regulations required.

He did confirm that earlier this week Cr Kidd attended a code of conduct workshop on the rules surrounding a conflict of interest and declaring an interest, but this was scheduled well before last week’s vote and many councillors and staff attended.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.