MIFFED Vincent CEO Len Kosova says Perth Liberal MP Eleni Evangel was given a detailed explanation of why a letter to pensioners in the city wasn’t political well before she publicly criticised the council.
Last week Ms Evangel, who’ll be facing Vincent mayor John Carey in next February’s state election, got stuck into the council over the letters, which alerted the pensioners to a Barnett government cap on rates rebates and advised them to contact her with any concerns (“Keep out of politics, MP warns Vincent,” Voice, July 2, 2016).
But Mr Kosova says the state revenue office had advised Vincent to include that advice.
Ms Evangel had also queried why 1700 pensioners who wouldn’t be affected by the $750 cap also received the same advice, but Mr Kosova said the letters were sent before rates were set by councillors so staff couldn’t tell who would be eligible or not.
Mr Kosova concedes his staff made one error: the letters directed complaints to Ms Evangel, yet a small number of Vincent ratepayers are in Mt Lawley MP Michael Sutherland’s domain and should have been advised to contact him.
Meanwhile Mr Sutherland says it’s hard to fathom how Mr Kosova and mayor John Carey didn’t know about the letters.
He said the CEO or mayor claiming to have had no input “left me scratching my head”.
“As a Perth city councillor for 14 years I cannot imagine that an important letter … would come down the food chain without authorisation from the bosses.
“Normal practice would be for the mayor, CEO and the relevant director to have knowledge of this, even if they had no ‘input’ into the actual drafting of the letter.”
Mr Carey says it’s improper for elected members to have their fingers in rates notices and operational letters, and if that was Mr Sutherland’s experience at Perth council it was no wonder that organisation had been having problems.
“They’re welcome to do an FOI request. I was not involved in this issue,” he says.
“What we’re seeing is a nasty personal claim with no evidence.”
Perth council also advised people to contact their local MPs if they had issues with the cap. Neighbouring Town of Cambridge’s missive was decidedly less fiery, including no contact details for MPs.
by DAVID BELL