THE simmering tension between local councillor Mike Neville and Griffith Business Chamber has exploded after the former mayor was hit with a code of conduct complaint on Friday.
Chamber president Paul Pierotti has demanded a public apology, accusing Cr Neville of slandering his family name and running a “campaign of vitriol” against the local business community.
It comes after an incendiary council meeting on June 25 where Cr Neville claimed Mr Pierotti was pushing his own business interests by “perennially sniping” at council.
Responding to criticisms the business leader had made in The Area News about council’s fiscal management, Cr Neville branded Mr Pierotti a hypocrite for “talking things down in the community” during the Murray-Darling Basin Plan debate and then buying the Gateway Centre when the real estate market had bottomed out.
He also accused Mr Pierotti of being a shareholder in a gym while publically questioning the viability of council’s aquatic centre gym.
“His brazenness has stooped to a new low,” Mr Pierotti said.
“I don’t and never have held a share in a gym. He’s slandered me, he’s slandered my business and he’s slandered my family.
“He’s been treating the business community with contempt for years and we’ve had enough.”
Cr Neville declined to comment about the issue while an investigation was underway.
Cr Anne Napoli is also the subject of a code of conduct complaint after comments she made against chamber at the same meeting.
Mr Pierotti claims she failed to disclose her son and daughter-in-law were council employees when she backed Cr Neville’s comments and hit out at chamber.
Cr Napoli also declined to comment for the story.
Council’s code of conduct complaints co-ordinator Shireen Donaldson confirmed Mr Pierotti had lodged an objection to the comments on Friday afternoon and an investigation had been commenced.
Mr Pierotti has asked for an apology, a withdrawal of the comments and “appropriate discipline” be enforced against the councillors.