T was a night for apologies — either offered or rejected and not always from the same songbook — at this week’s meeting of Lithgow Council.
The evening began with the now traditional request for Cr Martin Ticehurst to withdraw a ‘boofhead’ comment he had directed towards a public gallery protagonist at a meeting in March.
As has been the case at every meeting since then Cr Ticehurst has refused the instruction and was ordered out of the session.
The other person in the matter, the public gallery protagonist, has already apologised for his remark which triggered the issue, although Cr Joe McGinnes continues to claim he was a Labor Party stooge set up to make the comment.
“Cr Ticehurst only swatted a fly.
“Maybe you should have charged him with murder,” he said.
With Cr Ticehurst again out of the way it was the public forum session and a person in the gallery, Paul Phillips, accused Cr Ray Thompson of making an offensive remark during an adjournment at the previous week’s extraordinary meeting.
Cr Thompson said he had obviously been ‘taken out of context’ during a discussion with Operations Manager Iain Stewart while the meeting was in recess but apparently overhead by the complainant.
“If I have offended anyone I certainly withdraw the remark and apologise,” he said.
That appeared to be the end of that matter.
Mr Phillips has earlier announced he will be a candidate for the September local government elections.
Then it was Mayor Neville Castle in the firing line.
Cr McGinnes launched an attack on the expense incurred by council in what he claimed was an ongoing vendetta against Cr Ticehurst (who is currently the subject of more code of conduct investigations and has been previously twice suspended by the Department of Local Government).
The mayor replied that all levels of government incur various levels of costs in pursuing investigations into wide ranging issues.
He said no one had complained about the costs to the NSW Government in convicting (backpacker killer) Ivan Milat.
This prompted a hostile reaction from Cr McGinnes who claimed the mayor was out of line in comparing Cr Ticehurst with the notorious killer.
Mayor Castle quickly backtracked and said this had certainly not been his intention to compare Cr Ticehurst with Milat.
He said that if anyone had construed it in this way then he apologised.
“I apologise for any inferred comparison,” he said.
Irrespective of the apology Cr Ticehurst the next day saw an opportunity to vent his own spleen and issued a statement calling on the mayor to resign over what he still regarded as an offensive comparison directed towards him.
“I was absolutely shocked and bloody outraged that he would say something like that,” he said.
“He should do the honourable thing and resign today.”