03/08/2022 - 15:17

Jacob loses appeal bid

03/08/2022 - 15:17

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Mayor Albert Jacob has lost his bid to have six complaints made against him thrown out, with the administrative tribunal affirming his conduct was “antagonistic”.

Jacob loses appeal bid
Mr Jacob alleged the panel had made errors of fact in both complaints. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Joondalup mayor Albert Jacob has lost his bid to have the six complaints made against him to the standards panel thrown out, with the administrative tribunal affirming his conduct was “confronting” and “antagonistic”.

Last year, the Local Government Standards Panel found Mr Jacob had committed six 'minor breaches' of local government rules after two complaints were launched against him, including one by fellow councillor Russell Poliwka.

The complaints centred around Mr Jacob’s conduct at several council meetings in 2020, including comments made in response to rumours a local reserve was being acquired for commercial purposes and changes to council rates.

In the complaints, it was alleged Mr Jacob behaved in an “unprofessional manner” and made "improper comments" about fellow councillors that reflected adversely on their character.

But the mayor called for a review of the decision by the State Administrative Tribunal, requesting that the panel’s findings be set aside and replaced by an order dismissing the complaints.

In his submission, Mr Jacob alleged the panel had made errors of fact in both complaints and argued his comments were fair, factual and neutral when considering the context of the council debate.

Further, he claimed the panel should have adopted a “relatively sensible and balanced approach” in order to bring sense and balance to the rules being relied on.

Mr Jacob contended the panel’s claim that he 'unilaterally decided’ whether a motion was justified was “offensive”.

He also said the panel's oblique references indicated it was conducting itself in a way that fell well short of the standard imposed on him.

But Tribunal member Rosetta Petrucci has now affirmed both findings, saying in her judgment she believed the comments at the centre of the dispute were “confronting” and “antagonistic”.

“In my view, many of the comments made by Mayor Jacob as identified by the panel are confronting, antagonistic or contrary to the other member(s) of the council,” she said in the determination handed down overnight.

“While Mayor Jacob may take a different view on issues, it is incumbent on him as the mayor to treat all councillors fairly, to remain impartial in his conduct of the meeting and that he does not resort to adverse reflection on fellow councillors.”

Business News contacted the City of Joondalup for comment, but was told the matter was still on foot and Mr Jacob could not provide comment.

The matter has been adjourned for a directions hearing later this year.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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