Gifts under microscope

RATEPAYER-FUNDED gifts of up to $1000 for retired and defeated councillors are under scrutiny from a new Bayswater councillor.

Catherine Ehrdhardt, elected in October, wants the council to look into whether the practice should continue.

Her move comes as Michael Sabatino, defeated last year, received $1000 for his more than 10 years’ service.

Fellow departees Mike Anderton and former mayor Sylan Albert (whom Cr Ehrhardt defeated) got to keep their council-issued laptops valued at $170 each.

Cr Ehrdhardt says the council’s “recognition of service” policy, refreshed in 2014, needs review before the next election in two years.

“There’s no real urgency to do this now,” she says.

“I think with computers especially, there should be something done about making sure computers are wiped of sensitive information.”

She also suggested the used computers could be better off with people in real need.

Before 2014 councillors had to serve four years before receiving a departure gift valued between $500 and $1500.

Now, in line with local government regulations, outgoing councillors get $100 for every year they serve, capped at $1000.

Two years ago Bayswater ratepayers’ association chief Tony Green urged the council to dump the practice entirely.

Gifts to acknowledge service were appropriate when councillors weren’t paid, he said, but now they are paid between $30,000 and $136,000 a year (the mayor).

“Now that elected members get paid a living wage, with the mayor receiving a higher wage than our local state MP, there is no need for them to receive this extra payment when they leave council,” Mr Green said at the time.

“Elected members are not in full-time employment by the City of Bayswater, and it is not normal practice in industry to make such payments to casual or part-time staff.”

by EMMIE DOWLING

918 Drip Expresso 10x3

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