UNION placards asking ‘is Fidge ridgey didge?’ caused a stir at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The placards were held by about a dozen Australian Services Union (ASU) representatives, who sat quietly at the back of the council chamber for the duration of the council meeting.
Things looked like heating up in public question time, when ASU organiser for the North East, Ty Lockwood, asked Mayor, Rozi Parisotto, how council intended to act on the investigation which substantiated 21 of 23 allegations of bullying by Councillor Julian Fidge against council staff.
Cr Parisotto said the matters were confidential and “as such, they will not be discussed in this forum”.
Mr Lockwood wasn’t happy with her answer and continued to ask questions.
“I think ratepayers have a right to know if they have a substantiated bully sitting among the council – they have a right to know how that is being addressed.”
Cr Parisotto said “I’ve answered that question” before Mr Lockwood said “your silence is deafening”.
At that point Cr Fidge stood up with a smile on his face, and looked as if he was about to say something, but following a couple of requests from the mayor to sit down, he did so.
The placards came in for criticism from members of the public gallery, in the form of Docker’s Malcolm Carson and Cr Fidge’s father, Professor Noel Fidge.
Mr Carson asked why the placards were allowed in the council chamber.
“I don’t think it’s a forum for placards to be in the public gallery,” he said.
“I think that’s a place for outside.”
Council’s acting director – sustainability, Peter Mangan, said there was nothing in council’s local laws to preclude the display of placards.
Mr Fidge said other tiers of government didn’t allow the display of banners.
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