Councillor saga comes to a close

Cr Helen Leach
Cr Helen Leach

An official apology from Cr Lisa Ruffell was tabled at tonight's City of Greater Bendigo meeting, following an 18-month long saga between her and councillors Elise Chapman and Helen Leach. 

An independent state government Code of Conduct Panel delivered a finding of misconduct against Cr Lisa Ruffell earlier this year over her handling of a complaint against councillors Leach and Elise Chapman.

Disability organisation Amicus alleged the two councillors acted inappropriately towards one of their clients. 

It was found that Cr Ruffell did not give the councillors an opportunity to respond, however Cr Ruffell appealed the finding. 

It was later agreed the misconduct finding would be dropped if Cr Ruffell made an official apology to her fellow councillors. 

Cr Elise Chapman

Cr Elise Chapman

Cr Chapman said while she accepted the apology, it was "unfathomable" how she was treated. 

"We were tried, tested and charged without even knowing about it," she said.

"We were denied our right to respond and all we ever wanted was an apology from the mayor and CEO.  

"It is disappointing that what should have been a common courtesy has had to be directed after a code of conduct and ordered by VCAT.

"This has brought no good light to the council."

Cr Leach also accepted Cr Ruffell's apology, adding "what a shame it has come to this".


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