Cr Phil Youngblutt ... ‘not speaking on behalf of council’.
Cr Phil Youngblutt ... ‘not speaking on behalf of council’.

Moron decision

TWEED deputy mayor Phil Youngblutt could face disciplinary action from his fellow councillors on Tuesday for infamously telling the Tweed Daily News in September that some voters “are morons”.

The council’s secretive Conduct Review Panel was called in to judge whether Cr Youngblutt had misbehaved in making the blunt comments after three complaints.

One of the complainants requested their identity be kept secret, while the others are council critic Jerry Cornford and Greens candidate in the 2007 council election Trish Mann. A report, to be considered by councillors at their Tuesday meeting, says a member of the panel, Kirra barrister John Hawkins, investigated the complaints.

Mr Hawkins has referred his report to the councillors “for any further action that may be considered necessary” but noted that Cr Youngblutt, who formally apologised for the comments at the recent council meeting, “had already suffered considerably harm to his personal reputation”.

Councillors have been told the complaints by the unnamed person, Mr Cornford and Ms Mann were similar.

Mr Cornford said Cr Youngblutt’s comments that voters were “morons who had no idea how council operates” and further that “they have no idea how the council runs and some of them are business people, let alone the dropouts and the greenies” breached the council’s code of conduct and media policy.

Mr Hawkins said the code of conduct outlined “a duty to promote and support the key principles by leadership” and “treat others with respect at all times”.

The code said that meant “not using derogatory terms towards others, observing the rights of other people, treating people with courtesy and recognising the different roles others play in local government decision-making”.

Mr Hawkins found that “any member of the public reading the September 23 edition of the Tweed Daily New s... in which Cr Youngblutt describes some voters as ‘morons who had no idea how council operates...’ could reasonably conclude that this was the view of council as a whole”.

“It must be noted that the description of Tweed voters attributed to Cr Youngblutt is capable of bringing the council or holders of civic office into disrepute,” he added.

However he found Cr Youngblutt did not breach the media policy as he “was not speaking in an official capacity and on behalf of council”.

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