BAYSWATER mayor Sylvan Albert has described his fellow councillors as “petty” after they voted any mayoral publications costing more than $1000 must be put to a council vote.
The council recently spent $8000 for full-page ads in three local newspapers—including the Voice—informing ratepayers that council mergers had been cancelled (Merger ads a ‘waste’, Voice, April 10, 2015).
Cr Terry Kenyon, the former mayor, says the same information had been in the council’s letterboxed newsletter, and had already been reported widely in the media.
“The news was absolutely everywhere in every media outlet and it was a complete waste of money to replicate the information again,” he says.
But Cr Albert says the government mergers had gone on for seven years and their cancellation was important information that had to be relayed to ratepayers.
“I think councillors are being a bit on the petty side here,” he says.
“Not everyone knew, and I had to make the call.”
Cr Mike Sabatino says the new rule will leave the mayor “hamstrung”. Cr Stephanie Coates is concerned about the extra pressure on staff from late changes.
“If we approve a publication at council and then the situation changes and the mayor has to change the text or artwork, will we have to vote again and delay the publication?” she asked.
There was also debate amongst councillors about what constituted a mayoral publication, and if it included annual reports, budget bulletins and the official newsletter.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK