INVERCARGILL’s deputy mayor has apologised to the city council chief executive for a comment which prompted a code of conduct complaint.
An independent investigation was carried out by Robert Buchanan after fellow Invercargill City councillor Ian Pottinger criticised Nobby Clark’s actions.
Mr Buchanan said the newly-appointed deputy had breached the council’s code of conduct when talking about Clare Hadley in an open meeting. It was in response to emails Mrs Hadley had sent him.
“You’re saying, chair, that the chief executive has given a truthful situation and I don’t believe that’s so. I have a right to question that,” he said at the time.
During Tuesday’s performance, policy and partnership committee meeting, Cr Clark said the report raised a number of issues but it was “not the time or place to deal with those”.
He believed the best way the chairman could have dealt with the issue on the occasion was with a point of order.
However, even before his colleagues challenged him, he offered his apologies to Mrs Hadley.
“I wish to offer an apology to Clare and my colleagues who may have been upset by the comments I made.”
Cr Clark, Cr Pottinger and Mrs Hadley then removed themselves from the table and chairman Darren Ludlow said the matter could have been discussed in a public-excluded session as it was an employment matter.
However, he said Mrs Hadley had agreed to bring the issue to an open meeting in an effort to show greater transparency by council.
Cr Ludlow said there were a range of ways to deal with the matter, but he thought the most appropriate was to accept the apologies from Cr Clark.
Cr Lesley Soper moved an amendment to the apologies to also be in writing to draw attention to the “seriousness of the incident”.
The amendment was voted own with only Crs Soper, Alex Crackett, Graham Lewis and Rebecca Amundsen voting in favour.