Calls for Wingecarribee mayor to resign

There have been calls for Wingecarribee Mayor Juliet Arkwright to step down from her position following allegations she had breached NSW council codes.

An interview between Cr Arkwright and WIN TV regarding the termination of former general manager Jason Gordon's contract has become a contentious issue among Wingecarribee councillors.

At last week's council meeting Cr Duncan Gair questioned the timing of the interview, saying Cr Arkwright had pre-empted the resignation of the GM, which was an "extreme breach" of the council's model code of conduct.

Cr Gair said he would resign as a councillor if he was proved wrong.

"I could not be part of the council if I was to make these accusations publicly and not be correct, but on the same token I would also expect her to resign in her position," he said.

"She has been given two opportunities at two council meetings and asked at least five times when she did the interview and if she wanted to recount her initial response and she has said no."

Cr Gary Turland presented a recording of the WIN TV interview at the council meeting on December 6.

Cr Arkwright would not comment extensively on the matter, but said she neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.

"What they are saying is a set-up job to destroy me and bring down council," she said.

"I have not breached any confidentiality agreement nor was any media embargo breached regarding the mutually agreed departure of former general manager Jason Gordon.

"I have done nothing wrong and I am being bullied to an inch of my life."

Two signed statutory declarations from Cr Ian Scandrett state that during a scheduled interview with WIN TV on Thursday, November 7, the reporter confirmed to have had a meeting with the mayor beforehand regarding the resignation.

Cr Scandrett had prearranged an interview about another matter.

"Upon arriving at my place they confirmed they wanted to do an interview on the general manager's resignation," he said.

Text messages between Cr Scandrett and the WIN reporter further suggest the likelihood that an interview was carried out prior to the November 8 emergency council meeting to discuss the GM's position.

Cr Scandrett wrote a text message asking if the WIN reporter would be coming to the Southern Highlands for an interview following the meeting.

The response stated: "Hi Ian, unfortunately no, but I am available to do over-the-phone interviews with councillors who I didn't meet with yesterday".

The dates and times of the messages show they were received on Cr Scandrett's phone on November 8 at 7.50am and the meeting to consider the GM's position was not held until 11am that day. Cr Scandrett said the timeline and messages proved that Cr Arkwright would have had to do the interview with WIN prior to the official meeting at a time where the final outcome was still not known.

An interview with the mayor announcing the GM's resignation was aired on Friday night.

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