POLL: Is it fair Cr Taylor skips council briefings?
FRASER Coast councillor Stuart Taylor has refused to budge on his stance of not attending council briefing sessions - and his colleague is demanding answers over his decision.
On February 1, Cr Taylor told Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft through email that he would not attend further briefing sessions because he held "serious concerns" over conduct, and comments that he alleges "were inappropriate and amounted to bullying and harassment".
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But community members have been outraged by his decision, with some on social media accusing the councillor of tourism, communication and governance of having a "dummy spit" and alleging he was not fulfilling his role.
Cr Taylor so far has refused to change his position when the Chronicle contacted him on Friday.
"I know I'm getting public criticism for this, but I can't stay silent," Cr Taylor said.
"[I can] get my information from other sources. "The briefings are to inform us of the ordinary meetings and that information can be obtained through council documents and speaking directly through to council staff.
"At what point do you stand up to what you believe is inappropriate."
What do you think of Cr Stuart Taylor's decision to not attend briefing sessions?
This poll ended on 21 February 2017.
It's fine, as long as he attends council meetings
It's a disgrace - he should attend each briefing
I don't care
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The decision has drawn further criticism from fellow councillor Rolf Light, who said it was Cr Taylor's duty to attend the sessions and get the correct information.
"They're essential - I understand this is an extremely stressful job, but there's a difference from having a break and a public declaration of not attending," Cr Light said.
"Responsibilities as a councillor are things other than statutory obligations."
Cr Light did not attend some briefings over December, citing health concerns.
Council's briefing sessions are scheduled every Monday, and typically include discussions on upcoming agenda items and confidential items.
Section 12(3)(c) of the Local Government Act 2009 requires that all councillors "participate in council meetings, policy development and decision-making, for the benefit of the local government area".
Cr Taylor has not attended any briefings since the dismissal of council chief executive Lisa Desmond on February 6. Cr Taylor said despite his announcement he would still attend ordinary council meetings, council events and his related portfolio discussions.
"My statutory obligation is to attend meetings; briefings are ineffective as I believe I'm not getting all the information I need from them," he stated.
"There have been comments made as late as the last meeting, involving a 'personal relationship' with the former CEO. They're not professional and appropriate, and rather than address the issue he (the mayor) went directly to the media and said I need(ed) to explain my attendance."
The Chronicle contacted mayor Chris Loft for comment, but did not receive a response before going to print.