AN awards night for businesses and a street festival are in jeopardy after Bayswater council got caught out by a crackdown on accepting gifts.
For seven years Bayswater has been funding an awards night run by the Central Eastern Business Association, but along the way so many councillors have accepted tickets and now have to declare a conflict of interest there’s not enough left to vote on CEBA-related items.
It came to a head at the June council meeting where $15,000 for the awards night was left languishing because there wasn’t a quorum.
Councillors Dan Bull, Chris Cornish and Catherine Ehrhardt are members of CEBA (and Cr Cornish’s wife volunteers with them) and couldn’t vote at the June 21 meeting. Stephanie Coates had attended the awards, and with others away it meant the council couldn’t reach the 50 per cent quorum necessary to vote on the item.
Councillors can apply to local government minister Tony Simpson for an exemption, allowing them to vote, but at last week’s meeting it was clear no one had thought that through.
Crs Terry Kenyon and Alan Radford were back after leave, but both had attended dinners and couldn’t vote, so the item again lapsed.
The debacle has infuriated CEBA president Greg Pound who’s told the council the awards night and Morley street festival are on ice until the situation is resolved.
“For this situation to be repeated a second time [at July’s meeting] signals to the CEBA board that no effort has been made by the city to rectify this ludicrous situation,” Mr Pound said in a letter sent to Bayswater CEO Francesca Lefante and councillors last Wednesday.
The fate of the awards night will be decided at CEBA’s next board meeting.
by DAVID BELL