Ken Vernon | August 4th, 2011 | Gold Coast Bulletin
GOLD Coast Mayor Ron Clarke has ordered an inquiry into the email intercept operation run by council officials.
The report is to be presented to the full council on Monday.
A storm of criticism has erupted following the story broken by goldcoast.com.au today that council officials were intercepting some emails addressed to councillors without their knowledge or consent.
“I have asked the City solicitor to inquire into all the circumstances of the allegations and to ascertain if they should be reported to the Crime and Misconduct Commission or the State Ombudsman” said Mayor Clarke.
The mayor has also emailed councillors requesting them not ordering them to refrain from commenting to the press until the report is delivered.
Councillor Clarke said he had ordered the report to be delivered to the full council rather than to himself because of the seriousness of the issue.
“We need to make it clear that practices of this sort are not the policy of the Gold Coast City Council,” he said.
“Once it is done where does it stop? No, it can’t be done, it’s that simple.”
Top officials at the Gold Coast City Council have admitted secretly intercepting emails sent to councillors — but say it’s for their own good.
Goldcoast.com.au has learned the interceptions have been going on for at least a month and none of the councillors spoken to — including Mayor Ron Clarke — said they had been told of the practice.
Intercepted emails go directly to Tony Davis, the manager of the office of the CEO, where it is decided whether councillors should see the messages.
CEO Dale Dickson was unavailable for comment.
In a statement confirming the interception operation, council’s acting manager corporate communications, Warwick Sinclair, refused to say how long it had been happening or who it affected but goldcoast.com.au has learned administration officials have compiled a `black list’ of people whose emails are automatically intercepted.
Mr Sinclair refused to say who was on the black list or why they were on the list.
Is this practice illegal? Read the opinion of prominent Gold Coast lawyer Bill Potts in today’s Gold Coast Bulletin.