Farmer to fight for compensation
RALPH Mayer has vowed to fight on, despite his claim for compensation from the Somerset Regional Council being dismissed.
The Crossdale farmer had taken the council to court claiming Somerset mayor Graeme Lehmann had promised to repay him after he hired a contractor to repair a council road during the flood.
However, the claim was dismissed by the court after the defence lawyers cited a law stating the mayor couldn't executively act without his council's backing, according to Mr Mayer.
Despite the loss in the Toogoolawah Magistrates Court, Mr Mayer said he was investigating continuing legal action.
"I'm left with a bill for $60,000 now," he said.
"I don't think many politicians realise that this law that came in in the 1890s still stands.
"I do intend to continue this matter, definitely."
According to Mr Mayer the council's defence left the court with no option but to dismiss the case.
He said the law left the mayor with very little individual power.
"As someone else said to me, according to this law a mayor might be good for cutting ribbons or opening libraries but apparently they don't have the power to do much else."
Cr Lehmann, who was in Canberra yesterday, said he was yet to see the final report from the case but was glad the case had been finalised in the council's favour.
Somerset CEO Bob Bain said the council was glad to see the case finished.
He said the court's decision justified the council's position that Mr Mayer was not entitled to compensation for repairing Coogan Rd North at Crossdale.
"It has to be said that we didn't take him on, he took us on," he said.
"We made an offer to the plaintiff to settle this matter beforehand and that was rejected by the plaintiff, who decided to take it to court."
Mr Bain said the mayor wasn't able to authorise the repair and payment of the road under the Local Government Act.
"You'll find that no mayor in Queensland would have the authority to act without backing as part of the Local Government Act," he said.
Mr Bain said the court ruled Mr Mayer was to pay the legal fees of the council.