Media Releases

Willoughby councillor penalised for misconduct

5 March 2020

A Willoughby councillor has faced disciplinary action after being found to have engaged in misconduct by the Office of Local Government (OLG).

Councillor Stuart Coppock has had payment of his allowance suspended for two months after he contacted a council officer to request that he not issue an infringement notice to the owner of a commercial property for unauthorised works.

Cr Coppock has also been formally reprimanded and ordered to undertake training in interacting with council staff.

OLG Deputy Secretary Tim Hurst took disciplinary action against Cr Coppock after finding he had breached council’s policy governing interaction between councillors and council staff.

“I consider Cr Coppock’s misconduct in this matter to be serious,” Mr Hurst said in his Statement of Reasons for taking disciplinary action.

“It goes beyond mere ignorance of an important council policy regulating the interaction between councillors and staff.

“His attempt to influence a council official in the exercise of an enforcement discretion was highly improper.”

Mr Hurst said all councillors in NSW must comply with their council’s code of conduct which sets appropriate standards of behaviour.

“The local community is entitled to expect all councillors to act with honesty and integrity,” he said.

“Councillors who fail to meet these standards face penalties including public findings of inappropriate conduct, suspension of payment of allowance, and even suspension and disqualification from office.”

Media contact: Mark Nolan 0421 613 720

PDF Version:Media Release 5 March 2020