Mayor's lawyer says he will fight CCC charges
FRASER Coast council CEO Ken Diehm has reiterated it's "business as usual" despite mayor Chris Loft facing several corruption charges.
The arrest of Cr Loft on Thursday after an investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission has put the six-month CEO of the council in damage control.
Cr Loft's lawyer Angelo Venardos yesterday confirmed his client planned to fight the charges.
The latest developments could force the Fraser Coast back to the polls for a by-election if either Cr Loft resigns or is stood down.
Speaking to media yesterday, Mr Diehm said Cr Loft would retain the position of mayor unless Local Government Minister Mark Furner or the mayor himself determine otherwise.
Mr Diehm did not say whether Cr Loft had considered standing aside during the proceedings.
"My message to residents of the Fraser Coast Regional Council is that it's business as usual," Mr Diehm said.
"While the charges laid against the mayor are quite serious, I would remind our community that our mayor is presumed innocent until proved guilty."
Mr Diehm said the council staff were looking forward to the council drama coming to an end.
"When I took the position, I knew there were challenges with the council," he said.
"I didn't expect the CCC investigation, and I think the mayor, council and community are looking forward to this matter coming to an end."
Cr Loft has been charged with two counts of misconduct, disclosure of official secrets, wilfully disclosing information and computer hacking and misuse by the CCC.
He will appear in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on January 18 next year.
A spokesman from Local Government Minister Mark Furner's office said matters concerning the council were currently "being considered".
"It would be inappropriate to comment further given ongoing legal matters," the spokesman said.
Cr Loft was contacted for comment.