Council reprimands Councillor Lance Bagster

Published on 02 February 2018

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MATTER

The Final Ombudsman Report considered by Council on this matter relates to a report made to the Office of Public Integrity (OPI) regarding Cr Bagster’s alleged breaches, throughout May 2017, of clauses 3.3 and 3.13 of Part 3 of the Code of Conduct for Elected Members.

REASONS FOR REPRIMANDING COUNCILLOR BAGSTER

The Ombudsman investigated the report and made the following findings:

“Cr Bagster committed misconduct in public administration  by divulging confidential information to the public at a meeting of the City of Burnside on 9 May 2017 which was contrary to section 63(2) of the Local Government Act and, accordingly, contrary to law for the purposes of section 25(1)(a) of the Ombudsman Act;

Cr Bagster committed misconduct in public administration by failing to declare and appropriately deal with a material conflict of interest in Agenda Item 14.3 at a meeting of the City of Burnside on 9 May 2017 which was contrary to section 63(2) of the Local Government Act and, accordingly, contrary to law for the purposes of section 25(1 )(a) of the Ombudsman Act;

Cr Bagster committed misconduct in public administration by failing to appropriately deal with an actual conflict of interest in Agenda Item 18.1 at a meeting of the City of Burnside on 23 May 2017 which was contrary to section 63(2) of the Local Government Act and, accordingly, contrary to law for the purposes of section 25(1 )(a) of the Ombudsman Act;

Cr Bagster committed misconduct in public administration by failing to declare and appropriately deal with a material conflict of interest in Agenda Item 18.2 at a meeting of the City of Burnside on 23 May 2017 which was contrary to section 63(2) of the Local Government Act and, accordingly, contrary to law for the purposes of section 25(1 )(a) of the Ombudsman Act; and

Cr Bagster committed misconduct in public administration by failing to declare and appropriately deal with a material conflict of interest in Agenda Item 18.5 at a meeting of the City of Burnside on 23 May 2017 which was contrary to section 63(2) of the Local Government Act and, accordingly, contrary to law for the purposes of section 25(1) (a) of the Ombudsman Act.”

The Ombudsman reported the misconduct to the Principal Officer of the Council, as required by Section 18 (5) of the Ombudsman Act and in accordance with the Code, the final report was provided to a public meeting of Council for consideration.

REBUKE FROM COUNCIL

Consistent with the below Resolution of Council from 30 January 2018 and the Ombudsman’s findings, the City of Burnside Council publically reprimands Councillor Bagster for the following breaches of the Code of Conduct for Elected Members, which fall under Part 3 of the Code of Conduct, constituting misconduct and a breach of statutory matters under the Local Government Act 1999.

Breach of Code – Clause 3.3

“not release or divulge information that the Council has ordered be kept confidential, or that the Council member should reasonably know is information that is confidential, including information that is considered by Council in confidence”; and

Breach of Code – Clause 3.13

“be committed to making decisions without bias and in the best interests of the whole community and comply with the relevant conflict of interest provisions of the Local Government Act 1999.”

This public reprimand satisfies one of the recommendations made by the Ombudsman and Number 3 of the resolution below. Council Administration will advise the Ombudsman’s office of this formal reprimand and the channel through which it is being communicated.

C11565

  1. That the Report be received.
  2. That Council note and adopt the recommendations of the Ombudsman in his Final Report dated 21 November 2017 by requiring Cr Bagster to issue an unqualified public apology to the Council for each breach of the Code of Conduct (Code) outlined in the Final Report, such apology to be issued by 28 February 2018, for publication on the Council website.         
  3. That Council publicly reprimands Cr Bagster for each breach of the Code outlined in the Final Report on the Council Website.
  4. That Council note the final comments made by the Ombudsman in the Final Report relating to Cr Bagster’s conduct evidencing a willful and contumacious disregard for his obligations as a public officer and Elected Member of the Council; in addition to the concerns that Cr Bagster is unlikely to refrain from further similar conduct.
  5. That Council, should Cr Bagster fail to comply with a requirement made as a result of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, lodge a complaint in the District Court pursuant to Section 263B (2) of the Local Government Act 1999.
  6. That Council Administration report to the Ombudsman by 21 February 2018 on what steps have been taken by the Council to give effect to the Ombudsman’s recommendations.
  7. That the Council authorises Administration to issue a media release pertaining to the outcome of this matter.