• Tony Bosworth

Blue Mountains Mayor adds his voice to calls for everyone to move on as Deputy Mayor stands firm

Deputy Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett says she will not be resigning from Hawkesbury Council despite often unpleasant and personal social media attacks on her, following an email and Facebook post from Mayor Patrick Conolly requesting her to stand aside.

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill says move on...

The issue has come up following a decision made by the independent Office of Local Government (OLG) to investigate the Deputy Mayor and make a finding of misconduct, albeit with the rider there was “lack of any evidence of dishonesty and/or motivation for personal gain” after she incorrectly made a declaration for a meeting.

The issue is now concluded, with no further action required, and it has not been passed back to Hawkesbury Council for any action there either.

Mayor Patrick Conolly initially asked his Deputy to “consider her position and offer her resignation” in an email earlier this week which was also shared with the council’s new General Manager, Elizabeth Richardson.

After Cllr Lyons-Buckett put out a social media post explaining what had happened with the OLG ruling, and we covered the story in the Post, Mayor Conolly took to social media with a post under his Mayor of Hawkesbury Facebook page, asking publicly that she stand aside.

Since then, the Deputy Mayor has been both strongly supported by many on social media and also savagely attacked by other Facebook commentators.

Many of the comments have become personal and nasty, leading to Cllr Lyons-Buckett to remind social media readers of, “the recent disgusting bullying of the Mayor of Dubbo who attempted to take his own life due to the senseless and needless bullying behaviour, when fellow Councillors incapable of engaging in mature and sensible debate hounded him in his position. It is shameful behaviour, unfit for anyone in public office and those who engage in it should be ashamed,” she said today.

“I’ll say this here simply. The truth is an investigation has concluded with a finding that no further action is required - the matter has been thoroughly investigated. Therefore there is nothing else.”

But Mayor Patrick Conolly said on his official Facebook page, “In light of the determination of misconduct, and the seriousness of the breach, I have asked Clr Lyons-Buckett to consider her position and offer her resignation as Deputy Mayor”.

He says Cllr Lyons-Buckett declared a conflict of interest on an issue to do with the Kurmond-Kurrajong Investigation Area but she “still participated in the discussion and participated in the voting”.

But he did not mention all the details of the investigation.

Enter Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill. He is not a political ally of Cllr Lyons-Buckett – she is a fiercely independent councillor and he is a Labor Mayor - but he has come to her aid, calling for “some kindness of spirit” and pointing out he believes the Deputy Mayor is “a person of integrity”.

“Cllr Mary Lyons-Buckett and I have worked closely together as mayors in the past and I read her statements following a process involving the Office of Local Government (OLG) concerning a complaint made against her,” Mayor Greenhill said in a post on the Deputy Mayor’s Facebook page this morning.

“My understanding is the OLG took the view that no further action should be taken. It is my further understanding that the OLG accepted the honesty of Cllr Lyons-Buckett's evidence.

“Cllr Lyons-Buckett and I do not come from any common political grouping,” he said.

“My concern for her is based on our professional association.

“I have spoken to Cllr Lyons-Buckett and I know certain public statements that go beyond the OLG process have hurt her deeply.

“I believe Cllr Lyons-Buckett to be a person of integrity.

“That is why I am calling for all parties to respect the views expressed by the OLG and move on.

“I am not a councillor on the Hawkesbury City Council but I am a long-serving councillor and mayor who has had a professional association with Cllr Lyons-Buckett.

“From that vantage point, I call for some kindness of spirit and for all parties to move on.

“There is an election coming and the ultimate arbiter is the people.”

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