An extraordinary meeting intended to discuss an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry into Mid-Western Regional Council was abandoned tonight after all but four of the councillors left the council chamber.
The extraordinary meeting was to have taken place after council's ordinary meeting.
However, at the opening of the extraordinary meeting, Mayor Des Kennedy and Cr Max Walker declared an interest and left the room, on the grounds that both had been named in media reports as "persons of interest".
Cr Peter Shelley also left the room, stating that as ICAC had not informed anyone who or what was being investigated, no councillor should take part in discussions regarding ICAC.
"I'm out," he said, leaving the chamber. "No quorum, no meeting."
Cr John Weatherley had left the council chamber due to illness before the extraordinary meeting opened and with Deputy Mayor Paul Cavalier absent, only Cr Percy Thompson, Cr Esme Martens, Cr Lucy White and Cr John Webb remained.
Cr White attempted to explain that she had intended to move that council write to ICAC asking the reason for the inquiry.
But general manager Warwick Bennett declared that as there were too few councillors for a quorum, the meeting could not proceed.
Resident Bruce Haigh objected from the public gallery, demanding that the general manager and anyone named stand aside.
"It's a disgrace," Mr Haigh shouted. "You are dragging Mudgee's name through the mud."
Before the public meeting, Cr Kennedy released a statement stating that ICAC's investigation "did not worry him at all.".
"As far as I am concerned we have done nothing wrong and they can look wherever they want," Cr Kennedy said in the statement.
Cr Kennedy said he was aware of allegations against him regarding possible conflicts of interest.
"I would be very disappointed to find that these allegations have come from within the political structure of Mid-Western Regional Council, or come with a strong political malice," he said.
"These allegations don't just threaten my reputation, but our whole community."
Cr Kennedy said he was fully co-operating with ICAC's investigation and with respect to that investigation would not make any further comment.
Mr Bennett also released a statement confirming that there was an ICAC inquiry into "specific matters affecting council'.
"As the investigation continues it is entirely inappropriate that I, or any member of staff, make any comment to the media or the public," he said.
"No comment will be made until the investigation is complete and ICAC has released their findings."