Cr Andrew Banfield says he should have been more diligent in declaring an interest in a council agenda item concerning a company for which his employer worked.
But his explanation has not appeased the man who complained to the council. Don Fischer told The Post he intended to take the matter further unless he received an "adequate response." It is not a code of conduct complaint.
Cr Banfield told the most recent council meeting that it had been brought to his attention that he had overlooked a declaration of interest at the August 20 meeting.
At that forum, councillors were being asked to endorse a planning proposal rezoning Ganter Constructions' Mistful Park subdivision at Marys Mount to medium and large-lot residential, allow for a B2 Local Centre and a public recreation space.
"I made a statement at that meeting that I had no reason to declare a conflict of interest whereas previously (my employer) Denrith Ptd Ltd was contracted to do earthworks on that subdivision and I declared a pecuniary significant interest," Cr Banfield said.
"However, since then, circumstances have changed and that work is complete. (On August 20) I should have declared a non-pecuniary, non-significant interest in that item and I apologise for my inattention on that matter."
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This meant he would not have gained financially from any decision and could have remained in the meeting for discussion.
On Monday he said if a member of the public hadn't complained about it, he wouldn't have given it a second thought.
"I simply forgot," he said
"I'm not trying to hide anything. I looked at the business paper before the meeting and thought that because the (earth) work was finished, I had nothing to declare. But I should have been more diligent."
Cr Banfield frequently makes statements at the beginning of meetings that he has studied the business paper and that "due to my association with the Denrith Group of companies I see no reason why I should not fully participate in tonight's procedures."
But at the October 1 meeting he declared a significant pecuniary interest in an item regarding tenders for water main replacement.
Denrith Pty Ltd was one of five tenderers and Cr Banfield left the room during discussion.
Killard Excavation was awarded the tender.
In regard to the Mistful Park sudivision, Cr Banfield said the earthworks finished over 12 months ago and Denrith had now moved on to the nearby Teneriffe subdivision. He told The Post that as there was no guarantee Denrith would undertake earthworks on any future Mistful Park stages, there was no reason to declare a pecuniary conflict of interest. Cr Banfield's brother-in-law, Andy Divall, is a director of Denrith.
"Anyone could get that contract," Cr Banfield said.
Cr Banfield said he based his judgement on current circumstances.
His document tendered to the meeting stated that Concrete4Goulburn, owned by the Denrith group, had supplied concrete to the Mistful Park subdivision from time to time but no longer had a contract.
It is up to councillors' discretion to declare conflicts of interest or for a staff member to point it out.
Cr Banfield said it was no one else's role, including the mayor's or general manager's, to give advice on this.
Asked whether his association with Denrith created conflict with council business, given the breadth of its work, Cr Banfield said it wasn't a problem.
"Generally, decisions are made on contracts by staff," he said.
"Councillors can overrule staff recommendations...but I think with the group of councillors we have here now, they, the directors and senior management look at things fairly and openly."
Cr Banfield said when he declared significant pecuniary interests in items concerning Denrith, he left the room, did not take part in discussion or chase up the outcome with his colleagues.
Nor did he speak to his colleagues about any projects with which Denrith was involved.
Mr Fischer says he's not satisfied with Cr Banfield's statement.
"(But) I'll await the Mayor's reply in four weeks and will then go to the Local Government Ombudsman. There's no point going to the Local Government Department because they hand it back to council and say 'fix this.' It goes nowhere," he said.
Cr Carol James declared a significant pecuniary interest in the Mistful Park rezoning proposal at the August 20 meeting. She explained that her real estate agency managed property for Ganter Constructions, which owned the property. She left the room during discussion.
The annual disclosures of interests by councillors and designated staff was tendered at the October 1 meeting. It is required under the Model Code of Conduct for councils and is available for public inspection.
Meantime, Cr Banfield said he wouldn't contest the 2020 council election, after 12 years on the council.
"I think I've achieved a lot since I've been on there," he said.
"The river has been my number one thing. Auburn Street's (revitalisation) is underway and if we get some fresh ideas on the council, that will be a good thing. I'd be happy to step aside.
"It's been a very good experience and the council that's there is doing a good job. (But) I think there are a few councillors who need to hang up their hat, me being one."
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