A FORMER Wagga deputy mayor has called for more heads to roll over council’s failed loan to Douglas Aerospace.
The issue has dominated headlines this year, claiming the careers of a general manager and a senior council director, but an undercurrent of those demanding further bloodletting is growing stronger.
Lindsay Vidler, who served as deputy mayor between 1999 and 2009, said current councillors who supported loaning Douglas $2.5 million in 2012 should step aside.
“I personally believe that there are some councillors still in power that were all for this in the previous council and that they should resign and hang their heads in shame,” Mr Vidler wrote in a letter to the editor. “I wonder how they would feel if it was their own personal money that has been burnt.”
The sudden assault has infuriated some sitting councillors, particularly because Mr Vidler sat on the previous council that oversaw the transaction.
But the former councillor said he never voted for the loan and always “spoke strongly” in his opposition to it.
“I kept being reminded by some councillors that are still there that if anything happens we will own the hangar,” Mr Vidler said.
“Many times I have said what is the use of this when it was specially designed for aircraft painting and its use would be limited.”
Four councillors who voted in favour of the loan at the time carried over to the current council – Rod Kendall, Kerry Pascoe, Alan Brown and Garry Hiscock.
On Sunday, all four said they would not be resigning from their posts, citing a breakdown between council and staff.
Cr Pascoe, who was mayor at the time, said despite voting for the project, later concerns were never acted on by staff.
“I voted for it, and I was happy to do that, but we didn’t have the details we have today,” he said.
Mayor Kendall defended the council as well-intentioned.
“I don’t see any reason why persons of that council should resign,” he said.
Cr Garry Hiscock said he had already publicly apologised for the failure of the project. He said assisting Douglas Aerospace was a worthy pursuit at the time to develop industry at Wagga Airport.
“We hit a hurdle, but there are plenty of other opportunities to develop the airport,” he said. "Unfortunately we live in a real world where people are going to make mistakes.”
Cr Brown said corrective council resolutions were never followed through. Cr Yvonne Braid, who voted against the loan, also believed no councillor should resign because information was withheld.
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