Dubbo Regional Council needs Mayor Ben Shields gone regardless of him being on medical go away

Dubbo Regional Council calls on Mayor Ben Shields to resign despite being in hospital.

Important points:

  • Six of the eight councilors voted for Ben Shields to step down if “practically possible” to do so.
  • The Mayor is in critical condition in a Sydney hospital after a medical episode
  • Two weeks ago he was asked to resign over a planned Bunnings development

Last month seven councilors called for his resignation over processing a development application.

At an extraordinary meeting on Monday, six of the eight councilors voted for Cr Shields to step down if “practically possible” as he is in critical condition following a medical episode.

Councilors Greg Mohr and David Grant voted against the motion.

“That is ethically, morally and procedurally wrong,” said Cr Mohr.

“If Cr Shields and the ex-CEO did something wrong and has been shown to have done something wrong, I will resign, but until then, I am not.”

Two weeks ago, the mayor was asked to step down over a planned bunnings development in the city’s former RAAF base.

The multi-million dollar development is awaiting approval by the council.

According to the ABC, there are three allegations of violations of the code of conduct where the mayor is under scrutiny by the council.

“I cannot deal with the codes of conduct as they are currently being established. Therefore, I cannot comment on the extent of the allegations,” said Cr Mohr.

The public gallery was crowded for the meeting. (

Lucy Thackray


Acting Mayor Stephen Lawrence tabled Monday’s motion.

“Our priority is to do the right thing, to be fair and right and transparent, and to ensure that if something wrong has happened in the past it needs to be exposed and corrected,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s feasible for these important matters to simply stop being dealt with because of a person and their unfortunate illness.”

Medical leave until the end of May

Cr Shields was taken to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney on Friday and remains in critical but stable condition.

“Ben had surgery on Saturday morning and is now in RPA’s intensive care unit and will be staying there for some time,” said Cr Mohr.

“Ben’s family continues to ask that Ben’s privacy be respected when he is fighting this battle, and that you please respect his family’s privacy.”

Cr Shields’ medical leave until May 26 was unanimously approved at Monday’s meeting.

A woman in parliamentShelley Hancock says she is closely monitoring the council. (

AAP Image / Joel Carrett


Minister not impressed

Meanwhile, Local Government Secretary Shelley Hancock has sent all councilors a letter reminding them of their obligations under the Model Code of Conduct.

“I am absolutely horrified by the situation in Dubbo,” she said.

“I’ve had a lot to do with Ben Shields, the mayor. I’m very concerned about his well-being right now.

“If necessary, I will take further action on this advice.”

Independent investigator called

Three more reports will be presented at the regular council meeting on May 3rd:

  1. 1.A report on the Council’s policy on bullying and harassment and any reforms required
  2. 2.A report that provides advice on what powers of the mayor can lawfully be removed or reduced between council meetings and whether mayor fees, costs and facilities for the mayor and council members (set annually by council resolution) can be lawfully reduced or eliminated
  3. 3.A report that provides information on the options for the appointment of an independent investigator and possible roles

“I’m not against an independent investigator,” said Cr Mohr.

“I believe if these claims are true and if they come to fruition and are true, I will take a different stance.”

Find more local news here

Comments are closed.