Tribunal rejects petition to dismiss councillor

LAKE Macquarie councillor Rosmairi Okeno can get on with the job of representing her west ward constituents after the Administrative Decisions Tribunal dismissed an application on Monday to have her removed from office.

Back to Basics Coalition leader James Sullivan applied to have Cr Okeno dismissed by claiming that she was ineligible to run in last year’s election because she held the position of town centre co-ordinator for Morisset.

Electoral rules prohibit council employees from running for council.

The three-member tribunal dismissed Mr Sullivan’s complaint stating  that Cr Okeno ‘‘was not at any time an employee of the council in any orthodox sense’’.

‘‘The evidence is clear that Ms Okeno was employed...on an independent contractor basis,’’ the tribunal ruled.

Her role as town centre co-ordinator was at arm’s length to the council, the tribunal found.

Cr Okeno, who represented herself before the tribunal, said she was delighted with the decision.

‘‘I’m very excited that I can now just relax and do my best for my community as I intended,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m not sure why [Mr Sullivan] thought he had to bring the decision.’’

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