John Nugent hands the mayoral chains to Andrew Antoniolli.
John Nugent hands the mayoral chains to Andrew Antoniolli. Rob Williams

'Saddened': Ex-mayor's message to state on council dismissal

IT HAS been 14 years since John Nugent donned the mayoral robes, but the former leader remains passionate about his city's future in the wake of the Crime and Corruption Commission's investigation.

For the past year Mr Nugent has watched as the stable council he once led has been crippled by constant charges fired at Ipswich councillors and staff by the CCC.

Mr Nugent spent 31 years in Local Government as a councillor in the Moreton Shire Council and mayor of Ipswich between 1995 and 2004.

Since Mr Nugent, the city has not had a mayor without criminal charges.

He retired ahead of the 2004 mayoral election, which was won by his deputy mayor - the energetic Paul Pisasale.

"Right up to when I retired there was not a hint of any underhandedness or anything going on," Mr Nugent said.

The national headlines created by the council has disappointed the low-key 82-year old, and he insists the State Government should not dismiss the council.

"It makes me feel sad but it will make me a lot sadder if the State Government makes a big mistake by throwing all the innocent members of council out," he said.

Last year Mr Pisasale's spectacular resignation from hospital and charges by the CCC took Mr Nugent by surprise.

"I never saw any signs he was doing anything that was considered criminally wrong," he said.

"I saw him doing things that were silly for his own health, burning the midnight oil when she should be settling down."

Mr Nugent said the appointment of an administrator would be devastating for the Ipswich community.

"What you're going to do is put in an administrator and he's going to be somebody they've got from somewhere who's got no affinity with the area or the problems," he said.

"People at the local level will have nowhere to turn.

"Ringing up the council offices and speaking to an administrator will be a waste of time."

The retired politician acknowledged every organisation had bad eggs that should be removed.

"As you weed them out you weed them out, but you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," he said.

"I truly believe that the existing councillors, most of them if not all of them have done nothing wrong and got no reason to be turfed out."