In the tense debate over the board’s responsibility, Councilor and former mayor of Wyndham Heather Marcus also revealed that she had been named in the report as having had complaints against her by the staff, but said she “was unaware” of the details.
Despite her role in making the charges against her, Hill accused Gilligan of filing the motion for political reasons.
“I have never held an enemy, not even against Councilor Gilligan, who I thought would harm me today,” she said.
Gilligan said he had filed the motion to release the adviser’s report to refer the deputy mayor to a behavior panel because other ways of resolving the matter had failed, including asking local minister Melissa to intervene. Horne and the council watchdog, the local State Inspectorate.
“Staff working at Wyndham City Council have the right to come and work in a safe environment – free from harassment, intimidation and inappropriate behaviour,” Gilligan said in the motion.
“The CEO has taken some measures to try and protect the workforce, which is the extent of what he can do under the legislation, but it is believed that these measures are not enough.
“If the concerns raised in connection with the report are so serious that Cr Jasmine Hill is no longer allowed to have direct or indirect contact with the majority of council personnel, this matter should be addressed through a councilor panel.”
This month, before mentioning Hill in his motion notice, Gilligan claimed in a Facebook post that he had been threatened by an unnamed fellow councilor.
“This councilor threatened to ‘hurt me’ if I published their name and referred them for investigation,” his message read.
Gilligan has now confirmed that The age that he referred to Hill in the Facebook post.
Hill did not respond to a request for comment from The Age.
Allegations of bullying at councils are usually handled internally, but serious cases can be referred to an independent conduct tribunal. In this case, a majority of councilors were required to vote to reveal the contents of the advisor’s report to substantiate such a serious reference.
The successful motion required that the staff making the allegations remain anonymous.
A Wyndham City Council spokesperson declined to comment on “the confidential nature of these matters,” but added: “Bullying and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated in Wyndham City.”
Wyndham council consists of three Labor members, one Liberal member and seven Independents.
Gilligan himself has faced two independent arbitrations this year following complaints from fellow councilor Sahana Ramesh, an independent, and mayor Peter Maynard, a Labor colleague, that he had violated standards of conduct.
The complaints related to alleged abusive remarks to other councilors and the public, as well as allegations that he misled the public over a dispute over citizenship ceremonies.
In both cases, no disciplinary action was taken, although in the latter it was found that Gilligan had violated a standard regarding the treatment of others.
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