Garry Mallett: 'It's anonymous tittle-tattle'

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 15:36 04/02/2014

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Hamilton City councillor Garry Mallett was the subject of public complaint after allegedly "talking loudly" about council issues and councillors in public.

But Mr Mallett, who last year orchestrated the dumping of a colleague from a committee for alleged breaches of confidence, is refusing to discuss the episode - labelling it "tittle-tattle".

Hamilton City Council has declined to provide the Waikato Times with a copy of the complaint but confirmed one was received.

Council privacy officer Jude Pani said it concerned Mr Mallett talking loudly about council issues and other councillors which the complainant found "unprofessional in a public place".

Mayor Julie Hardaker responded by talking to Mr Mallett about appropriate behaviour as a public figure, she said.

"Cr Mallett agreed that in future he would be more respectful in his approach towards council matters in public places. All parties are satisfied with the outcome and the matter is considered resolved."

Mr Mallett declined to discuss the complaint or when or where the alleged incident took place.

"It's anonymous tittle-tattle and you wouldn't have a clue what the contents of that email was, you wouldn't have a clue."

In December, Mr Mallett successfully moved to have Cr Ewan Wilson sacked from the council's new council-controlled organisation committee for alleged breaches of confidence. Mr Mallett, who chairs the committee, alleged Mr Wilson had breached confidence by sharing emails with the Times.

Mr Wilson said the fact Mr Mallett was allowed to keep his committee chairmanship reflected a double standard on council.

"In my scenario I forwarded an email that wasn't confidential to the media and for that infraction I'm thrown off the committee. In Mallett's scenario a member of the public is disappointed with his behaviour and despite that the mayor gives him a committee chair."

The Times was unable to contact Ms Hardaker for comment.

Meanwhile, councillors will meet tomorrow to discuss a new code of behaviour for elected members. The draft document outlines expected standards of behaviour, councillor work practices and how to deal with the media.

Councillor Dave Macpherson said it treated councillors like children.

"It instructs us we must attend meetings, we must do this and shall do that. It's not conducive to collegial behaviour, it's conducive to enforced behaviour."

The document puts the mayor as the first point of contact for the official view on any issue, Mr Macpherson said, whereas previously committee chairs were able to speak on behalf of council in their respective areas.

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aaron.leaman@waikatotimes.co.nz

- Waikato

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