No sanctions for criticising Scaffidi

NO action will be taken against Perth city councillors for calling on lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi to step down in recent weeks.

Deputy mayor James Limnios had called for Ms Scaffidi to temporarily step aside during a state administrative tribunal hearing into her failure to declare travel contributions. Councillor Jemma Green said she should resign for the good of the city’s reputation, while Reece Harley said he’d step down if he was in her position.

After May’s council meeting Cr Harley and Cr Limnios met with the press to reiterate their positions, with Cr Harley pointing out that by speaking to journalists he risked being reported to a standards panel for breaching PCC rules.

The local government act says only the mayor can speak on behalf of the city, unless the role is delegated, but councillors are still free to offer their own opinions.

The rules at Perth city council are one step more severe, saying councillors can’t “provide comment to members of the media on council decisions and activities”.

At the last election Cr Harley proposed dumping the gag rule if elected lord mayor.

He said they got in the way of campaigning as he was restricted from commenting on a lot of council issues.

While the strict rules are on the books, it appears there’s a temporary detente in enforcing them.

With all the public criticism of the lord mayor’s actions, at the last meeting Fremantle resident Rahul Tanjung poked his nose north of the river to ask the CEO whether Cr Limnios’ comments suggesting the lord mayor step aside “breaches the code of conduct for all councillors”.

“The administration can confirm that officers are not investigating any potential breach and no complaint has been lodged in respect to the code of conduct,” came the CEO’s response.

by DAVID BELL

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