THE Moyne Shire mayor fiasco has taken a twist as it recently emerged that Councillor Jim Doukas intentionally left the meeting after his preferred mayoral candidate - Councillor James Purcell - withdrew his nomination of acceptance which caused a three-vote tie, leaving the shire without a new mayor.
It was hoped that the current issues would be resolved at a scheduled special meeting on Tuesday, November 16.
Cr Doukas had joined the meeting via Zoom due to his stance against getting the COVID-19 vaccine and it was initially thought unstable internet connection caused his exit, however Cr Doukas said leaving was “intended”.
In the days since, another issue has come to light after Cr Doukas told The Spectator he received written documentation which outlined a breach of the Councillor Code of Conduct.
He said three councillors had made alleged accusations against him, two of them being the previous candidates at the mayoral election, Councillor Jordan Lockett and Councillor Damian Gleeson.
“There has been a document written to me saying I breached the code of conduct in a certain aspect, I said fair enough, let’s go through the process and resolve it,” Cr Doukas said.
“Show me where I breached the code of conduct, and I will put my hand up.
“(But) since the meeting, I haven’t heard from any of the other councillors into how we can resolve that situation.”
“If they think its resolved, what is the solution because there is no outcome, allegations have been made (and) they are either proven or disproven.”
“They (the accusations) are still hanging over my head, they are confidential, but people still know.”
Cr Doukas said while leaving the meeting was intentional, the abrupt ending to the meeting was because of technological problems in the process.
“In the process of leaving the meeting, because it was a Zoom meeting and me not being too tech savvy, things went pear shaped electronically,” he said.
“I intended to leave the meeting in a nice, orderly, smooth fashion, but it didn’t work out that way (and) I ended up (accidentally) on YouTube.”
Cr Doukas expected the council to work through the issues and come to a solution without relying on a contribution from him.
He also proposed the idea of a mediation to work through and select the new mayor – the idea involved getting an independent mediator from the state government.
“They did (the vote) twice, it’s up to them to resolve it (and) not up to me …if we followed the code of conduct rules, we should go to a mediation,” he said.
“I nominated Cr Purcell and still think he is the best candidate.”
For Tuesday’s upcoming special meeting, Cr Doukas was strong on his opinion that he would like to see Cr Purcell run for mayor.
He said what happened between now and then would guide his decision to place a vote, however it appeared that he would not vote for Cr Lockett or Cr Gleeson.
“I don’t know (if I’m going to vote), I’m going to talk to Cr Purcell and hopefully he would like to accept the nomination again,” Cr Doukas said.
“(If not), all they need is four votes, those two candidates can sit down behind closed doors and work it out, it’s not that difficult.”
Moyne Shire’s Wind Farm Living was in agreeance with Cr Doukas and threw its support behind him on Thursday.
“We need more councillors like Jim, who are willing to stand up for the rural communities and not hide behind the bureaucratic rhetoric,” the statement read.
“Jim, like all of us, wants straight answers – we don’t want to be fobbed off - that should be the primary criteria of every Council’s Code of Conduct.”
Acting mayor, Councillor Daniel Meade was adamant a solution would be met at the special council meeting and a mayor would be elected following proceedings.
“It’s a hiccup but won’t affect the positive work we do at Moyne … I’m confident the matter will be resolved on Tuesday,” he said.
Cr Meade said the issue at the election earlier this week “wasn’t expected” and he was determined to move forward.
“There are several options to result in a positive outcome (where) we have a mayor, we are working together in cohesion,” he said.