David Citer, who resigned from Ku-ring-gai Council after being found guilty for misrepresenting himself in an email as a psychologist, will remain chair of the Chabad North Shore committee after a unanimous vote on Tuesday night.
Citer was fined $9500 and incurred $5000 in legal costs after the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) filed charges alleging that he “knowingly or recklessly” used a title or word in an email that indicated he was authorised or qualified to practise as a psychologist.
Citer pleaded guilty in February to the charge and a second charge that related to providing copies of emails to the inspector that been altered to omit the title “psychologist” in the signature.
In light of the court’s decision, Citer immediately resigned from Ku-ring-gai Council, saying, “It’s in the interest of the community,” but expressed his desire to remain in his Chabad North Shore role.
“I am a passionate member of Chabad, I still believe I can serve that community very well,” he said.
At the extraordinary committee meeting on Tuesday night, Citer offered to resign as chair.
“In view of my contribution to the Jewish community and greater community they decided not to accept my resignation,” he told The AJN.
He said they took into account his contributions and his work on behalf of the Jewish community in Council, including advocating for the St Ives Eruv, “and decided there’s still more for me to do”.
“I’m certainly very happy with that vote of confidence and I look forward to continuing as chair,” he said.
Citer told The AJN he’d never had a complaint during a decorated 20-year professional career as a child, adolescent and family therapist.
“The charges related to sending one email that had the world ‘psychologist’ in the signature … there are no criminal charges, just a fine.”
Chabad North Shore committee member Tony Mitchell told The AJN that Citer, who he regards a friend, “is a very, very decent human being”.
“He’s done a hell of lot for community … You don’t bury someone because they’ve made one mistake.
“He paid the ultimate price by resigning from Council.”
Mitchell said it was important that a Jewish candidate nominates to replace Citer on Council.
Chabad North Shore’s Rabbi Nochum Schapiro said Citer had never before marketed himself as a psychologist or attempted to profit by using the title.
“David has contributed enormously to mental health in Australia, receiving multiple awards … As councillor for Ku-ring-gai, David has been a strong advocate for the Jewish community.”