'Bewildered': LGAQ boss fires back at ex-mayor's posts
THE chief executive of Queensland's peak local government body has hit back at former Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft after a series of critical posts were published on his Facebook page.
Greg Hallam, CEO of the Local Government Association of Queensland, said the recent lashings on the ex-mayor's official Facebook page left him "bewildered" and was at odds with the pair's working relationship.
One post suggested the LGAQ had been "milking ratepayers all over Queensland for years" and called on ratepayers to question the organisation's role in Local Government.
Mr Hallam says the posts are reflective of a change of tune in the former mayor's attitude since his February sacking.
Emails obtained by the Chronicle reveal Mr Loft had previously praised the LGAQ on several occasions and voiced his support for Mr Hallam's work.
"Greg, Thanks for batting as hard as you do, You are a patient and persistent man... I am learning too. Have a restful Christmas," one of the emails, dated December 3, 2016 reads.
In another email, dated July 20, 2017, Mr Loft said he "wholeheartedly agree(d)" with Mr Hallam's sentiments on an independent council complaints assessor.
Mr Hallam told the Chronicle yesterday Mr Loft rang him "more than any other mayor in the first 12 months" of his term.
He said at least 80 phone calls were recorded between the pair in Mr Loft's first year in office, including one on Good Friday in 2016.
"I'm not sure why he's got sour grapes, we offered him support during his deliberations and twice issued news releases saying he shouldn't be sacked," Mr Hallam said.
"I'm flabbergasted, it's completely at odds with the relationship we had enjoyed... as late as last year I spoke with Mr Loft and he said he was fine, he couldn't be happier."
But Mr Hallam said he would not be taking action against any of the posts, saying Mr Loft was entitled to his opinion.
"But that opinion is not supported by fact," he said.
"The good thing is, we have overwhelming support from councils all over Queensland, and our approval rating is at 80 per cent in the last two years."
Posts from Mr Loft's page have repeatedly called for a probe or royal commission into Local Government.
In May, he lost an appeal in the Supreme Court to overturn his dismissal.