Hutt City Council chief executive Jo Miller threatened to take legal action against three councillors, accusing them of defamation after they raised concerns about her actions as the manager of the local authority, according to emails and legal correspondence.
The threats, issued through lawyers, contributed to David Bassett’s decision to resign abruptly in June after 14 years on the council, including nine as deputy mayor. The by-election to replace him will be held on September 24.
Local government experts said moves by a chief executive to sue the councillors – who are technically her employer – were unusual.
More than unusual – it suggests an extremely toxic culture. Councillors should not be threatened with defamation for raising concerns about the Council.