Email feud erupts into childish food fight
Ward calls on Willmott to resign or undertake anger management classes
Photo: GLENN ELLARD
WHAT started out as a tit-for-tat email argument between two Shoalhaven City Councillors ended up in a food-throwing incident in Mayor Greg Watson's office yesterday.
As a result of a confrontation between Cr Gareth Ward and Cr John Willmott, Cr Ward decided to call on Cr Willmott to either resign from council or seek leave of absence to attend anger management classes.
It all started on Saturday, when Cr Willmott sent an email to a constituent championing the construction of nine-storey buildings in Ulladulla, with copies to all councillors.
Cr Ward accused Cr Willmott of treating a legitimately interested constituent outrageously, to which Cr Willmott replied, addressing Cr Ward as "a little twerp".
Cr Ward retaliated, saying Cr Willmott's behaviour towards fellow councillors had reached a new low, and then proceeded to give Cr Willmott a lesson in spelling.
Cr Willmott's rejoinder was to call Cr Ward the most dishonourable individual he knows, to which Cr Ward replied: "Thanks John, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
Cr Ward then offered Cr Willmott advice on the correct use of capital letters.
Things came to a head at lunchtime yesterday, when all the councillors were gathered in Mayor Watson's office for a pre-council meeting over lunch.
When Cr Ward reached across Crs Jack Kerr and Willmott to retrieve some food, Cr Willmott allegedly said "I wouldn't lean over me, I'll f.....g rip it off", and allegedly pushed Cr Ward.
To which Cr Ward retorted: "At least I can spell it!"
Cr Willmott then picked up a bowl of tomato sauce, and threw it at Cr Ward, soiling his hair, suit, shirt and tie.
Cr Ward said after the incident, that he looked like a St George supporter, with traces of tomato sauce in his white hair.
And what were the other councillors doing while all this was going on?
"They didn't say anything, except Cr John Anderson, who commented that it was not appropriate behaviour," Cr Ward said.
"Whatever happens, Cr Willmott will be receiving an account for my dry cleaning."