A COUNCILLOR'S attendance record has been brought into question just weeks before Knox voters take to the polls for council elections.
Baird Ward councillor Peter Cole has had a string of absences from council meetings this year, including the most recent meeting last Tuesday week when the council had one of its most divisive votes of the year — the subdivision of the Glenfern green wedge into five lots.
With the vote tied 4-4, mayor Adam Gill had to cast the deciding vote, and rejected the application to subdivide the Upper Ferntree Gully land.
When the Weekly spoke to Cr Cole last week, he could not say how he would have voted if he was present because "I like to hear the debate between councillors". No formal apology for his absence was recorded, but Cr Cole said he had put one to the council secretary and did not know why it was not noted.
The council's corporate development director Mark Dupe said Cr Cole had not followed protocol, because councillors must submit apologies to the chairperson — in this case the mayor — or the chief executive officer, who would table their apology.
Several sources within the council have since raised concerns about Cr Cole's attendance record — the council's code of conduct states councillors must attend meetings "regularly".
In the 12 months to June this year, Cr Cole attended 10 of 12 council meetings and seven of 11 strategic planning meetings and missed one of two special meetings.
He is the only councillor not listed on council meeting minutes as attending any committee or delegate meetings since May this year.
Cr Cole is one of two councillors on the youth advisory committee — Cr Sue McMillan is the other — and according to its records, has not attended any meetings this year. Cr Cole disputed the council records, saying he believed he had been to "a couple".
Cr McMillan, who will not be recontesting Dobson Ward at next month's election, said she was disappointed by Cr Cole's actions.
"It was disappointing that Cr Cole wasn't able to attend any meetings given he is a young councillor and it would have been a great opportunity to show leadership to other young representatives of that committee."
Cr Cole said he had reasons for his absences, including being unwell, but would not elaborate. He is undecided whether to seek re-election.
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