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Councillor feeling bullied

By Peter de Graaf

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A Far North District councillor claims she was bullied by colleagues who refused to accept her apology when she was sick - after ditching her from a community board and the chief executive's review committee without telling her.


Tracy Dalton said she only found out about the loss of her roles when she read the meeting's minutes.


Back at the council table on Thursday after a medical absence, Cr Dalton demanded to know why her apology for the October meeting had not been accepted.


She said she had emailed a medical certificate, admittedly not 24 hours ahead of the meeting, and none of the councillors had contacted her to say they were unhappy with her apology. Only the secretary had contacted her to inform her she had been taken off the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board.


Mayor Wayne Brown said it was largely a ''timing issue''. A number of councillors had been missing meetings or arriving late without letting anyone know, so the motion not to accept her apology was a signal that all councillors had to make contact - preferably by phone - if they could not attend a meeting. Mr Brown said he did not see Cr Dalton's email until after the meeting.


Cr Di Maxwell, who seconded Cr Ann Court's motion not to accept the apology, said councillors felt uneasy that Cr Dalton did not attend a meeting due to illness yet was still working at her other job in Whangarei.


Cr Dalton, however, said she had taken medical leave from both positions.


''I think it's bullying,'' she said.


Councillors voted to retrospectively accept Cr Dalton's apology for the October meeting. Council staff also clarified that a medical certificate was not required for an apology to be accepted.


Cr Dalton lost her community board role at the October meeting. At a previous meeting she had been stripped of other portfolios, including her membership of the chief executive's review committee.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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