Redland City Cr Paul Gleeson fined for threatening a councillor, derogatory comments, social media use

COUNCILLOR: Cr Paul Gleeson says he will not consider stepping down.

COUNCILLOR: Cr Paul Gleeson says he will not consider stepping down.

CR PAUL Gleeson has been fined $2100 by the state government's Councillor Conduct Tribunal for threatening a councillor and social media use, including making derogatory comments.

The tribunal ordered Cr Gleeson be reprimanded for four sustained complaints.

Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian said Cr Gleeson had a total of 15 sustained allegations of misconduct and inappropriate conduct, 13 involving social media comments.

Ms Florian said the tribunal had noted in its decision that Cr Gleeson's conduct was reckless given his disciplinary history and training provided to him on social media use.

One complaint - sustained by the tribunal - alleged that Cr Gleeson had verbally threatened a councillor by shouting "your gone" (sic) and "I'm coming after you" in the councillor lounge on October 23, 2018.

"The nature of the conduct was verbally intimidating or threatening, which is conduct that the community would not expect of its elected representative, and fails to fulfil the trust reposed in the councillor by the community," the tribunal said.

Ms Florian said the Office of the Independent Assessor had submitted that Cr Gleeson's behaviour was indicative of an ongoing course of conduct that exhibited a disregard for local government principles and councillor responsibilities.

The tribunal fined Cr Gleeson $700 each on two accounts and $350 each on the other two. He was given between two and six months to pay.

Cr Gleeson said people would see what was going on if he could disclose everything about every complaint but there were confidentiality requirements. "There are pathetic political games being played," he said.

He said there were different standards that councillors and state MPs had to adhere to.

"The standards set for councillors are easily manipulated and used for political gain," he said.

Cr Gleeson said he would not consider stepping down as he had "done nothing wrong".

In sustaining a complaint about Cr Gleeson's social media use, the tribunal found the conduct was a breach of trust placed in him as a councillor.

The complaint said Cr Gleeson had made comments that did not comply councillors' responsibilities to the local government and community about two people on his personal Facebook page.

"It was considered that due to the disciplinary history of the councillor involving social media misuse and the previous training specifically provided on social media use, that the conduct as alleged was reckless, and properly characterised as a breach of trust rather than inappropriate conduct.

Another complaint stated that Cr Gleeson had posted a photo on social media containing personal information and names of individuals that constituted a breach of the trust placed in him as a councillor.

The tribunal said councillors were required to provide high quality leadership and the content posted was inconsistent with council's code of conduct.

A fourth complaint related to Cr Gleeson referring on social media to the content of a freedom of information request to council.

"Disclosure of non-public details obtained by a councillor in the course of his duties as a councillor, regarding an individual's freedom of information request, put the council at risk of a possible contravention of the law," the tribunal said.

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