14 Feb 2013

New Plymouth councillor censured, sacked from roles

10:34 am on 14 February 2013

The New Plymouth District council has sacked a councillor from her roles for criticising a senior council manager.

Sherrill George sent a letter to The Taranaki Daily News in January this year saying that a "short person with a big ego" was a common thread in three managers recently quitting the council.

The council's monitoring committee earlier agreed Ms George had breached the code of conduct by criticising a staff member, recommending that she be censured and removed from the four council committees she sits on.

A meeting on Wednesday upheld that view, with most councillors saying Ms George's behaviour was a clear breach of the conduct they had agreed to.

Mayor Harry Duynhoven said councillors had no other option.

"What else could we do, to be really blunt. To simply allow this to go on would be simply to say, let's just ignore any bad behaviour and anarchy rules."

He says the law needs changing so councils have harsher disciplinary powers to deal with such matters, such as reductions in pay and meeting bans.

Sherrill George is known for her outspoken views. In 2011, she was also stripped of council positions for attempting to organise a boycott against a Cambodian-owned business in Waitara.