6 January 2020
Moreton Bay Regional Councillor Denise Sims has been found to have engaged in misconduct for failing to declare her husband’s employment on her register of interests.
Under the Local Government Act all income over $500 must be recorded in a councillor’s register of interests, including the income of their spouse and other people related to the councillor.
Cr Sims referred herself to the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) having failed to declare her husband had been working at a Christian Outreach Centre since 2015, including some months before she was elected.
The OIA accepted the first-term councillor was not deliberately attempting to conceal an interest given she had updated her register to include her husband’s employment while providing full and frank co-operation to investigators.
The OIA fast-tracked the matter to the Councillor Conduct Tribunal which also accepted Cr Sims genuinely misunderstood her obligations.
The tribunal ordered that Cr Sims be counselled by the council CEO about her misconduct and how not to repeat it, particularly as she had no previous disciplinary history.
The tribunal noted councillors have significant powers and their registers of interests must be kept up to date for the purpose of transparency.
The Councillor Conduct Tribunal decision can be found here.
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