ADANI ROW: Strelow resigns as Mayor amid ‘misconduct’ claims
MAYOR Margaret Strelow has made a shock announcement tonight - that she has resigned.
In a lengthy statement posted to social media, Mrs Strelow said she had been found guilty of misconduct - which she strongly refutes.
The alleged misconduct is in relation to a trip to a remote Adani solar farm.
She said she had put this on the council register, as required.
Mrs Strelow's resignation potentially means election runner-up Chris Hooper automatically becomes Rockhampton's new Mayor, after legislation was pushed through State Parliament earlier this year.
Mrs Strelow's full resignation statement as follows:
"My resignation from the Office of Mayor took effect at 5 pm this afternoon.
As you can imagine this is not a step that I've taken lightly and was definitely not something I had even remotely considered when I was re-elected as your Mayor eight short months ago.
After months of silence the Councillor Conduct Tribunal has decided that I am guilty of misconduct.
I absolutely refute their finding.
I acted at all times in accordance with my own conscience and on the advice of senior legal practitioners as well as on the advice of officers from the Department of Local Government.
Remember this is about a day trip to one of Adani's solar farms. Part of an official visit and normal day to day work for a Mayor. Itinerary drawn up by the Premier and my participation approved by full Council.
My refusal to agree that I may have been compromised in some way by the visit is a matter of personal integrity for me. And I cannot with a clear conscience agree that a reasonable person would believe I might have been.
As a matter of honour given the misconduct finding, I tendered my resignation to the CEO this afternoon.
I wish to apologise to my community who may now have a Mayor who was not of your choosing. I remain hopeful that the government will find a way to allow you to have a by- election.
Right up until the decision today I could not believe that a fair and independent tribunal could possibly find as they have done.
I am leaving this community in better shape - financially and in outlook than when I returned to office in 2012.
I have served for 16 1/2 years as Mayor and three years before that as Councillor.
We have been through difficulties with cyclones, floods, de-amalgamation and the necessary but brutal budget which followed.
And on the upside we have reimagined Rockhampton and grown a region to be proud of.
I have always known and felt the support of the majority of the community and they were my inspiration and my strength.
My husband has been my unfailing supporter and my family held up my arms when I tired.
But above all of these has been an unfailing faith that God was making the path that I followed - however imperfectly I journeyed the path.
I would like to personally thank the Chief Executive Officer Evan Pardon, Damon Morrison and others in the RRC team, RRC Councillors and the many thousands of Rocky Region residents who have supported a vision for change in our community.
I encourage the elected Council to continue to think outside the box. Remember- you can't shrink to greatness. Be bold.
It has been a privilege to serve this amazing community as both Councillor and Mayor.
I will never lose sight of the great honour you allowed me.
I return immediately to private life and ask media to respect my wishes for time to come to terms with this decision and its implications for myself and those I love."
MORE TO COME.