You are currently viewing Bombshell Report: Cessnock Councillor Ian Olsen Suspended
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Bombshell Report: Cessnock Councillor Ian Olsen Suspended

In a tumultuous session at the Cessnock City Council meeting on October 19th, Councillor Ian Olsen found himself at the center of controversy, leading to his suspension for misconduct.

During a censure motion debate , tensions flared as Councillor Olsen clashed with Mayor Suvaal over whether the matter should be discussed publicly or in a confidential session. Amidst the debate, Councillor Olsen’s frustration boiled over, resulting in him shouting at fellow councillors, accusing them of dishonesty and vigorously denying he had lied. Mayor Suvaal swiftly intervened, calling Councillor Olsen out of order and bringing the heated exchange to a halt.

While the video footage does not explicitly identify whom Councillor Olsen directed his outburst towards, it’s believed that his ire was aimed at Liberal Councillor Karren Jackson, potentially disclosing confidential information in the process. This breach of conduct was one of several alleged offences during the meeting.

The specific allegations against Councillor Olsen included:

  1. Engaging in intimidatory and abusive behavior during both open and closed sessions of the council meeting.
  2. Disclosing confidential information regarding a conduct complaint during the meeting.
  3. Engaging in disruptive conduct that hindered the proper functioning of the council.
  4. Insulting and disparaging the General Manager, further disrupting the proceedings.

Following the meeting, Councillor Olsen also faced allegations related to comments made on the “Ian and Jess” show and or on his Facebook Page, where council issues were discussed, potentially violating codes of conduct.

In response to these allegations, a disciplinary process was initiated, culminating in a ruling by the Departmental Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government. After careful consideration of the evidence and submissions, it was determined that Councillor Olsen had indeed engaged in misconduct as defined by the Local Government Act 1993.

He was found guilty on counts 1, 2, 3, and 4, which included engaging in intimidatory and abusive behavior, disclosing confidential information, engaging in disruptive conduct, and insulting and disparaging the General Manager.

However, he was not found guilty on count 5, which related to the comments made on the “Ian and Jess” show amd or comments made on his Facebook Page.

As a result, Councillor Ian Olsen has been suspended from civic office for a period of three months. The ruling aims to serve as both a specific deterrent to Councillor Olsen and a general reminder to others about the importance of upholding high standards of conduct in public office.

Despite Councillor Olsen’s extensive experience and training in local government, which included 23 years of service and previous roles such as Deputy Mayor, the ruling emphasized the gravity of his actions and the necessity of disciplinary action.

The suspension means that Councillor Olsen is prohibited from exercising any functions of his civic office and is not entitled to receive any fees, remuneration, or other benefits associated with his position during the suspension period.

This decision underscores the commitment of the Office of Local Government to uphold integrity and accountability within local councils, ensuring that elected officials are held to the highest standards of conduct.

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