Fraser Coast Regional Council - Mayor Chris Loft..
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Mayor Chris Loft.. Alistair Brightman

Mayor Loft to apologise for second misconduct allegation

JUST over a month ago, Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft was forced to apologise to a packed council gallery for misconduct.

Next week, he'll make a second apology for another misconduct complaint.

This is after the independent watchdog upheld the complaint, the details of which have not yet been disclosed.

The Chronicle understands the Independent Regional Conduct Review Panel informed the embattled mayor of the decision on July 26.

Under their recommendations, Cr Loft will apologise at the next open council meeting, and has reportedly been ordered to pay a fine and undergo counselling.

The nature of the complaint has not been confirmed but a spokesman from the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning said it is separate to the previous allegation resolved on July 5.

That day, Cr Loft apologised to the council for issuing directions to a Fraser Coast Tourism and Events staffer.

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said the situation with the Fraser Coast Regional Council was "getting beyond a joke."

"Everyone I talk to asks 'What's going on?'," Mr Saunders said.

"People are just getting frustrated."

With new legislation being drafted by the State Government to handle councillor complaints, he said he would look forward to seeing "a better standard of local government."

"As elected representatives, councillors and mayors need to be held to the highest standards of behaviour," Mr Saunders said.

When asked about the decision on Cr Loft's latest complaint, Minister for Local Government Mark Furner said it was "not appropriate" to comment.

He said the latest reforms in local government would allow for "more transparency and accountability" for elected representatives.

"This includes a proposed new independent assessor to deal with councillor complaints, and a uniform Code of Conduct for councillors," Mr Furner said.

A council spokesman declined to comment.

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