Former CQ mayor reprimanded over serious misconduct
Former Woorabinda mayor Cheyne Wilkie has been formally reprimanded by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal for engaging in serious and unacceptable misconduct during his time in office.
Mr Wilkie was also fined $4665 and ordered to publicly admit to his behaviour.
The decision comes after the CCT conducted a three-day public hearing in Brisbane in December 2019.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian said the CCT upheld eight allegations against Mr Wilkie, finding he:
- used discriminatory and offensive language in the workplace (two allegations);
- failed to declare conflicts of interests (four allegations);
- failed to maintain an accurate register of interests (one allegation); and
- acted beyond his authority in directing a council employee to do maintenance work (one allegation).
Mr Wilkie was elected as mayor of the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council in March 2016 and resigned from his position as mayor and councillor effective from October 25, 2019.
The CCT found Mr Wilkie used discriminatory, derogatory and/or offensive language towards a council employee and a council consultant in the workplace, rejecting his defence that he was joking.
It noted the way the mayor conducted himself set the tone for other councillors and staff to emulate.
It also found Mr Wilkie failed to declare conflicts of interest at council meetings which considered four matters relating to the proposed divestment of council programs and services, and other benefits to a corporation known as Yoonthalla.
Before becoming mayor, Mr Wilkie helped to establish Yoonthalla as a single entity designed to receive state and federal funding and to deliver the programs and services needed by the Woorabinda community.
Mr Wilkie had previously been a director of the corporation, while his wife and her daughter were Yoonthalla directors at the time of the meetings in question.
Mr Wilkie also failed to transparently disclose his wife’s position as a director of Yoonthalla on a register of interests, as required by law.
The CCT upheld a further allegation that Mr Wilkie directed a council worker to undertake maintenance work, assuming an operational role that was not consistent with the legislated responsibilities of a mayor or councillor.