Port Stephens councillor Giacomo Arnott says expulsion from meeting was illegal

ANIMATED: Pictures of Cr Giacomo Arnott (above) and Mayor Ryan Palmer at the December 10 council meeting from the webcast.

ANIMATED: Pictures of Cr Giacomo Arnott (above) and Mayor Ryan Palmer at the December 10 council meeting from the webcast.

Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer says that the council would be responding to any ruling from the Office of Local Government and "accept the umpire's decision" in its investigation into the removal by police of Cr Giacomo Arnott from a council meeting earlier this month

"We will be responding to the letter from the OLG and putting our position," mayor Palmer said.

Cr Arnott wrote to the Minister of the OLG following his expulsion and removal by police from the council meeting on December 10, "outlining details of an apparent breach of the Local Government Act and Local Government Regulation by the mayor".

"The Office of Local Government has investigated mayor Palmer's behaviour and they have determined that his actions, and my expulsion from the meeting, were unlawful," Cr Arnott said.

"This was an illegal expulsion. I tried to make that clear on the night, but the mayor wouldn't even let me speak to defend myself.

"It was against the Local Government Act, it was against the Local Government Regulations, and it was against the council's own code of meeting practice.

"I'm calling on the mayor to apologise for the unlawful expulsion, and I expect the meeting minutes to reflect the determination of the OLG."

In explaining his actions on the night, mayor Palmer said that the warning he had offered to Cr Arnott "was what any reasonable person would have interpreted as asking for an apology".

"When no apology was forthcoming and the disorderly conduct from the councillor happened again a vote, as per the council code of conduct, was put to the councillors to have him removed," he said.

The meeting was recorded on the council webcast.

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