Council takes Kay Williams off committee
Gosford Council has suspended Pearl Beach resident Ms Kay Williams from the council's Heritage Committee.
The council decided at its August 23 meeting "that she be suspended until such time as she addresses the issues in correspondence from Council to the satisfaction of Council".
It also resolved that "Ms Williams be given the opportunity to meet with the director of community services and organisational development and the chair of the heritage advisory committee to discuss the reasons why she has been suspended".
The resolutions were moved by Cr Craig Doyle and seconded by Cr Jim Macfadyen, following discussion behind closed doors.
The move by Cr Doyle followed an unsuccessful motion from Cr Peter Freewater that "Council review the matter and how it has been dealt with and seek an alternative recommendation".
Cr Freewater was supported by heritage committee chair Cr Terri Latella.
However, Ms Williams claimed last week that she had not been provided with the details of the allegations.
Ms Williams said she was being denied natural justice.
She said she "cannot find out specifically what I said or did".
Ms Williams has been suspended for Code of Conduct breaches but she said the council would not specify how she breached the Code.
She said she had written to the council's organisational development director Mr Terry Thirlwell about the allegations, "which keep changing each time I write to him".
"I cannot answer for or defend behaviours he won't specify," she said.
Mr Thirlwell told Peninsula News he was waiting for Ms Williams to meet with him to discuss the alleged breaches of Council's Code of Conduct.
Ms Williams, however, said she refused to meet with Mr Thirlwell until her alleged breaches were addressed in writing.
"I have told him I want them in writing in order to address them before I meet with him," said Ms Williams.
She said she has written to him a number of times requesting information regarding the alleged breaches.
"Instead he has emailed and written back changing the charges against me but still not telling me what I said or did."
Mr Thirlwell refused to comment on the allegations.
"I won't describe the details of that because that's personal to Mrs Williams," he told Peninsula News.
"I can't make any comment on that until she gets back in contact with me and provides an explanation back to me," he said.
Ms Williams said Mr Thirlwell appeared at a Heritage Committee meeting earlier in the year and accused her of speaking publicly about items on the agenda.
"He also said I had gone to the press about a matter before the Heritage Committee and this was a breach of the Code of Conduct."
Ms Williams said she had gone through the Code of Conduct and could not see where she was in breach of it.
"If I were to guess, I would say Terry was referring to my speaking with the press about Council's failure to act of a Heritage report they obtained about Mill Creek and advising State Heritage Office of this.
"However this matter was not referred to the Heritage Committee until after I spoke to the press about it, which was one of my complaints," she said.
Ms Williams also said that the second letter she received from Mr Thirlwell did not repeat the initial charges but instead stated Ms Williams was "rude to Council officers".
She said Mr Thirlwell asserted Ms Williams behaviour towards staff was "disrespectful and dismissive, it is not acceptable".
"My fellow community members on the committee assured me they have not witnessed such behaviour, though I do accept that I have spoken critically of some issues before the committee," she said.
"This is a denial of natural justice - the right to know what you are accused of.
"I do not expect to be reinstated or to be able to change what Mr Thirlwell has already told Council officers, that resulted in my being named in Council minutes.
"The Local Government Ministry advised me I had a right to seek a written statement of what I was accused of and I have continued unsuccessfully to do this," she said.