Algate slams Facebook attack
Saturday, 23rd July, 2016
By Emily Roberts
A councillor has said a social media attack on a mayoral candidate is in poor taste.
During the week, Council’s general manager James Roncon defended the actions of an employee who took to social media to express concern that a sacked councillor was running for mayor.
The staff member, who is the GM’s executive support officer, commented on a Barrier Daily Truth post that referred to the front page article in Tuesday’s paper about former councillor Tom Kennedy running for mayor.
Mr Kennedy was a councillor at the time the elected Council was dismissed by the state government in 2007.
In the comments section, the employee wrote: “Hmm still concerned that any sacked councillors can run for not only mayor but a councillor???” (sic).
Mr Roncon said in Friday’s BDT that he believed the employee had not breached the Code of Conduct.
“In my view it is not a breach of the code of conduct; the comments are from a private Facebook account linked to a private email address.
“I would have preferred that the comments had not been made but there is no breach of the code in my view.”
However, yesterday local Councillor Bob Algate said he believed there might have been a political perspective behind the comments.
“Other people were dismissed at the same time, so why was Tom singled out?” he said.
“There are only two reasons that I can think - one is that it is political and the other is that they were trying to discredit Tom.
“It is an affront to the other councillors that were in office during that time.”
Clr Algate said a senior employee of council should have known to watch what they posted on Facebook.
“They ought to know better and better understand the Code of Conduct,” he said.
“It is out of order - the sacking was almost 10 years ago.
“Do we all live in the past? We’re only a few months away from the 10th anniversary.
“The council were dismissed for a lot of reasons and it wasn’t for the reasons that people think.”
Clr Algate said the bulk of the issues that come forward were due to management.
“The bulk of the problems were addressed to the administration,” he said.
“The eleven problems that were directed to the elected body had been addressed.
“Some of the management problems are still unresolved; but we need to move on from that.”
Clr Algate said it was unfortunate to see people posting negative comments.
“It is in bad taste when someone criticises a prospective councillor or mayor.
“It is also bad if it is a council employee, and there is a possibility of that person working with the candidate if they are elected.
“It is supposed to be a democratic society.”
Clr Algate believes Mr Kennedy has grown over the past 10 years.
“I have a great deal of respect from Tom Kennedy, he has a young family, he is a model father.
“He is sharp and committed to Broken Hill and is very passionate in everything he does.
“The water is a prime example; even the soccer is now on stable footing - thanks to him.
“He is young and has the energy to give it his all.”