FORMER Whitsunday mayor Mike Brunker is calling on the current mayor Jennifer Whitney, to "put up or shut up" in a public debate over Whitsunday Regional Council's debt.
Mr Brunker's invitation for a showdown is the result of Cr Whitney's claims that the multi-million dollar debt, need for emergent funding and predicted rate rises and levies are the fault of the previous administration.
"I'm sick and tired of her [Jennifer Whitney] having her two bob's worth, saying we stuffed the finances up," Mr Brunker said.
"Don't worry about hiding behind the CMC [Crime and Misconduct Commission]. Let's come out and have a debate."
Mr Brunker wants Cr Whitney to stand beside him in front of ratepayers, representatives from the Queensland Treasury, Department of Local Government and Council's former chief executive and finance officers "to stop people telling lies".
"I want to have it out with her and clear it once and for all," he said.
Cr Whitney however, is not taking the bait, saying "these are the actions of a desperate former mayor seeking to defend his record of leadership".
"We are facing an enormous debt from an overspend in the 2010 NDRRA [National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements] program. If he wants to talk to someone, tell him to pick up the phone to the CMC," she said.
But Mr Brunker says he has still heard nothing from the CMC.
He is also on the warpath in defence of his former senior staff who he claims have been "gagged".
"Through family and friends, I know they're absolutely devastated. At least I can speak out - they can't," he said.
Mr Brunker says he is not taking 'no' for an answer and will pursue the clearing of his name by a public debate or otherwise.
"We've got a couple of irons in the fire," he said.
"I'm certainly not going to go to every Council meeting and harass them ... but at the end of the day she has made statements, she has tried to assassinate my character, so it's [time to] put up or shut up."
"If she's that confident with her information, she should say 'bring it on tomorrow'."
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