A question of ‘morals’
MORALS are defined in the Macquarie Dictionary as “principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct; ethics”.
When an elected community representative resigns from public office on grounds of ‘morals’, it clearly suggests a serious breach of conduct has occurred.
This was the written reason – along with “personal priorities and beliefs” – given by veteran Cr Paula Greenway in her surprise resignation from the Toodyay Shire Council on April 1.
It raises questions of serious concern for all members of the community and leaves the remaining councillors in an awkward situation.Read more
They now have to decide whether to fill the unplanned council vacancy with a $23,000 by-election that will wipe out more than half of the shire’s razor-thin 2020-21 projected budget surplus.
Or they can ask new WA Local Government Minister John Carey for permission to continue with reduced community representation until WA’s October local government elections.
A six-month delay would expose Shire President Rosemary Madacsi to the thankless task of using a second “casting vote” to break tied decisions that don’t need an absolute majority of five members.
Former president Brian Rayner faced a similar situation in 2019 after former Cr Craig Brook resigned to move interstate.
But of greater concern is the question of ‘morals’ raised by Cr Greenway in her Letter to the Editor published elsewhere on this website.
Her unwavering support for disgraced former shire CEO Stan Scott is well documented in shire voting records.
So too was her opposition to last year’s choice of a new shire president and CEO, and her own two failed bids since 2019 to be elected shire deputy president.
So what is it about the new council that offends Cr Greenway’s ‘morals’ so strongly that she has now lost the “passion and commitment” to complete the four-year term she was elected to serve?
Councillors swear an oath of office to “undertake the duties of councillor in the best interests of the people”.
Clearly something serious has prevented Cr Greenway from doing that, and Toodyay voters have a right to know why.
Cr Greenway’s final council meeting on Tuesday April 27 will provide an opportunity for her to place that matter of serious concern on public record.