Horsham mayor Pam Clarke defends bypass conflict allegations

Pam Clarke

Pam Clarke

HORSHAM mayor Pam Clarke has defended her position on the city’s bypass after another councillor alleged she had an undeclared conflict of interest in the project.

At a meeting on Monday night, Cr John Robinson said Cr Clake’s involvement in Horsham Jayco, located on Stawell Road and which her family owns, was a conflict of interest for bypass alignment option 5A.

Following a recision motion put forward by Cr David Grimble, Cr Robinson alleged Cr Clarke was biased in her decision making.

“You have a direct interest and failed to declare it,” he said.

Cr Robinson said Cr Clarke was “biased” and “acted in a hostile manner” when making decisions about the bypass.

“Your mind was made up and you had no ability to be persuaded,” he said.

Cr Robinson also alleged Cr Clarke put her personal views about the view of council. 

Cr Clarke said was “very offended” by the remarks. 

“I had been waiting for this attack for quite a while,” she said.

Cr Clarke said when she was elected to council in 2012, she sought legal advice about her involvement with Horsham Jayco and whether it was a conflict of interest for the bypass.

“The advice I got was that I did not,” she said.

“I have an interest in common with the bypass.

“Anyone who lives in Stawell Road or anyone in Horsham who has a business is going to impacted in one way or another.

“It is an interest in common that every other organisation in this town has.

“I got that advice very early on and I’ve stuck with that advice.”

Cr Clarke said the allegations that she didn’t declare a conflict of interest were serious.

“My credibility is at stake here,” she said. “This is a very serious issue for me and I don’t take it lightly.

“I take this as a personal attack.”

Chief executive Peter Brown reiterated the legal advice was Cr Clarke did not have a conflict of interest.

“The responsibility for making a determination for conflict of interest rest with that councillor,” he said.

“Councillors have the responsibility to seek information to establish if they have a conflict.”

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