A former Moorabool councillor has narrowly escaped prosecution following an investigation into a major security breach which saw confidential council information leaked to the public.
The Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate has released the findings of its investigation into a former councillor, amid allegations he “knowingly and repeatedly” accessed the Moorabool Shire Council’s secure server without authorisation between November 2013 and May 2014.
In its findings, the Inspectorate said the councillor grossly misused his position of power by making improper use of information acquired and accessing data without authorisation.
The first complaint alleged a release of confidential information relating to the council’s review of Family Day Care. The second complaint concerned the release of confidential information regarding a parcel of land in Tavener Street.
Current mayor Allan Comrie declined to comment on the particulars of the investigation, including the identity of the second councillor, who the accused claimed gave him permission to access the website.
He said it still remained unclear how the breach occurred. He dubbed the former councillor involved a “sticky nose”.
He said increased security of the council’s internal server was implemented in 2014 when the allegations of misconduct first emerged. Under the new guidelines, all councillors were made to change their passwords. To his knowledge, no breach had occurred since.
The Inspectorate said in its findings although the evidence necessary to support a separate charge of unauthorised access to restricted data was obtained, statutory time limits prevented any charges being laid.
It also said it was unable to quantify to the criminal standard of proof the advantage sought to be gained by the former councillor. The council’s chief executive Rob Croxford said he was pleased there were no adverse findings against the current council.
The Courier has chosen not to name the councillors involved for legal reasons.
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