FORMER councillor Andrew Walter lashed out at former mayor and current councillor Adam Gill, describing him as untrustworthy and a ‘‘rat’’ at this week’s announcement of Knox’s poll results.
But Cr Gill has hit back, denying the claims and saying he is now focused on getting results for the people who elected him.
Mr Walter, formerly a Friberg Ward councillor, lost last weekend’s local government election to Tony Holland, but had warned before the result was known that he would speak out about the conduct of the campaign.
Mr Walter also criticised some councillors for being disrespectful towards Knox Council officers and executives.
Mr Holland strongly denied allegations by fellow candidate Tony Richardson that he had engaged in threatening behaviour. Mr Richardson has has made an official complaint to the Victorian Electoral Commission. .
The outbursts came during the declarations of the polls on Monday, when winning councillors were named and all candidates were given the opportunity to address the crowd.
Mr Walter claimed that he was ‘‘set up a long time ago’’ and said he thought he had an agreement with Cr Gill.
Mr Walter said he voted for Cr Gill to be mayor last year because in exchange Cr Gill said he would support his campaign in Friberg Ward. ‘‘Instead he [Cr Gill] ran a campaign against me.
‘‘Where I come from, when someone looks you in the eye and shakes your hand, that’s a binding contract,’’ he said.
He warned the new councillors not to take Cr Gill on face value because ‘‘he will probably backflip on you’’.
Cr Gill was the only councillor not at the declaration and Mr Walter said that showed what sort of person he was.
‘‘I suspect some people would call you a rat because that’s all you are.’’
But Cr Gill denied there was ever any deal between himself and Mr Walter. He told the Weekly a medical appointment prevented him from attending the declaration on time.
Cr Gill denied supporting or endorsing any candidate.
Mr Walter attacked Cr Gill for attending a primary school fun run along with Mr Walter’s opponent Tony Holland. Yet during the campaign Cr Gill had failed to attend a Knox athletics event with Mr Walter. Cr Gill, however, said he was unwell on the day of the event.
Mr Walter said he was angry because Cr Gill was a promoting a candidate in Mr Holland who was not yet a city councillor. He also said that Cr Gill was paid to attend events like openings. ‘‘It’s an absolute disgrace and he should be ashamed of himself.’’
Cr Gill and Mr Holland are known to be friends and both are real estate agents operating outside Knox.
Cr Gill said he was now focused on the next four years: ‘‘I did not coerce the voters of Friberg to vote against him. The election is over and what people want are results and that is my focus.’’
Knox BMX club president and Friberg Ward candidate Tony Richardson also expressed his anger and frustration at what he called a ‘‘smutty election’’. He claimed Mr Holland threatened to cut funding for the BMX club if Mr Richardson did not preference him.
Mr Richardson said that he officially complained to the VEC so the matter was noted in case funding to the club was slashed.
Mr Holland rejected the claims. He said Mr Richardson had wanted him to guarantee $650,000 in funding for the club, which he would not do.
Mr Holland said his priority was working for council for the next four years. He described Mr Walter’s comments as a case of ‘‘sour grapes’’.