’Remove my name’

Rex Flannery, pictured in late 2015, wants his name stripped from council. 148005 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Mitchell Clarke

Almost one year since alleged corruption was exposed within the City of Casey, a former councillor is still fighting to clear his name.

Former Springfield Ward councillor Rex Flannery, who resigned as deputy mayor just days before the State Government sensationally sacked the entire council in February 2020, says the events of the past 12 months are still “eating” him up.

He has now officially requested that his name is removed from both a councillor honour board in the customer service centre and a wall plaque in Bunjil Place.

“I have never had any involvement into this alleged corruption scandal and therefore I do not wish to have my name associated with past or former councillors who may have brought our City of Casey into disrepute,” he told Star News.

“People look at your name and they see that you’re from Casey Council and immediately they put you in that same mould, which couldn’t be further than the truth.

“It’s just horrible to have been a councillor in that term. It gives you a sickening feeling in your gut and now I have to live with that.“

Mr Flannery argues his name should never have been placed on the plaque celebrating the $126 million Bunjil development because at the time he didn’t support the project.

“I guess I’ve eaten a little bit of humble pie with Bunjil Place. I’ve been able to see the value that place brings to the community but at the time I was against the development and I wasn’t once consulted (about having my name included),” he said.

He also claims former ex-ward partner, Sam Aziz, stated to him that he “wished he never had my name added to the plaque”.

“That was the only time I agreed with him,” Mr Flannery said.

While Mr Flannery hasn’t accused any former councillor of committing wrongdoing, he said anyone found guilty from the IBAC hearing should immediately have their honours stripped.

“They need to have their plaques removed from anywhere within the City of Casey … whether it’s a plaque in the botanical gardens or in Bunjil Place, I want them removed so they have absolutely no recognition anymore,” he said.

“They’ve disgraced themselves and they’ve disgraced the council. They’ve taken something away from me that I totally enjoyed. I loved serving the Casey community. I just want some clarity as to what way it’s going to go.”

Since his resignation, Mr Flannery has been working in an operating theatre at a local hospital. He said he has every intention to run for council again in 2024.

“I want to get back into serving the community again. I want to run again and I want to get my name back on the honour board for the right reasons. At the moment it’s a dishonour board,” he said.

Star News understands Mr Flannery has put forward his request to be heard by the administrators at the next council meeting, slated for Tuesday 2 February.“It’s up to them now but a year later, this is still eating at me. I need closure and this is one way that I can get it,“ he said.

“I played no part in any downturn or sacking of the council and I feel it’s my duty to say that I don’t want to be a part of or in any way associated with the 2016-20 term.”

The City of Casey has been contacted for comment.

See letters to the editor, page 6.