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Mosman councillor Guilty Of Illegal Database Use, Chief Of Staff To Fair Trading Minister Slammed

By David Richards | Saturday | 04/05/2013

EXCLUSIVE: A Mosman Councillor is set to be sanctioned for the illegal use of email databases used to promote his bid for Mayor after an independent arbitrator found that there was a "primia facia" case against him, the investigation has also questioned the actions of the Chief Of Staff to the NSW Fair Trading Minister.

Mosman Councillor Simon Menzies who stood accused of obtaining Council databases along with the member's database of the Mosman Rowers Club is now facing sanctions from his fellow Councillors, with insiders claiming that he will be forced to apologise to Mosman residents for his actions which were found to be  in breach of the Mosman Council code of conduct. 

The breach was first revealed on SmartOffice.

The independent investigation of which details have been leaked to SmartOffice by Council administrators was carried out by solicitor Annette Simpson on behalf of Mosman Council.

Also singled out are members of the Mosman Rowers Club Committee in particular Club Vice President Tim James who is Chief of Staff to NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts.

This is the same Tim James was recently accused of ''verbally assaulting'' a NSW Government female staff member for more than two days, resulting in her suffering ''severe psychological trauma''.

The incident, has led to the woman's resignation and a threat to sue the state of NSW after details were inadvertently made public.
Pictured from from left to right Councillor Simon Menzies, Tim James Chief Of Staff To the NSW Fair Trading Minister and Dr Philip Arber President Of Mosman Rowers Limited. This image has been digitally compiled.

When SmartOffice first identified that Councillor Menzies stood accused of illegally obtaining email addresses from the Mosman Rowers database Tim James along with Mosman Rowers Club President Dr Philip Arber defended his actions claiming that the club is not bound by national privacy principles relating to the illegal use of email databases in Australia. 

James who is also a lawyer told SmartOffice "There was no breach", James is tipped as a potential candidate to content the North Shore seat currently held by Health Minister Jillian Skinner if she retires at the end of this term.

Solicitor Annette Simpson writes in her report to Council "The Clubs Vice President comments are curious as he appears to have failed to consider the fact that the application form for prospective club membership includes a note in small print entitled privacy and which arguably contracts that all personal information collected by the club will not be disclosed to any unauthorised persons". 

At the time Simon Menzies was the Treasurer of the club and responsible for email newsletters. 

During the investigation Simpson questioned Mosman Council IT Manager Kevin Nonweiler he said that Councillors did not have access to the Council database which was hidden behind six firewalls however Councillors did have access to an information portal that contained attachments to Council documents.

He said that Councillor Menzies could have obtained email addresses from people communicating with the Council for such activities as a "street party".

Simpson found that there was not enough evidence to support claims that Menzies had obtained the Council database.

Mosman Rowers Club President Dr Philip Arber was not available to comment about the independent ruling against club treasurer Menzies. 

Arbour who is currently fighting his own battles with Mosman Council has called for action to be taken against Mosman Councillors after he was called "A Clown" following his decision to turn up at the opening of Council Meetings, sing a song, read a prayer and then disappear.

On one occasion attendees in the public seating started to walk out as Arber started singing.

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