Pressing buttons

THE flash of a smart phone during a council meeting this week was enough to inflame divisions within Perth council.

During an item on the heritage listing of the Grand Central hotel — part-owned by lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi — councillor Reece Harley was certain he spotted colleague Judy McEvoy recording proceedings on her phone.

Cr Harley complained recording meetings was against standing orders — even though the council now routinely records all council meetings and posts them online — which earned a rebuke from Cr McEvoy that he was being conspiratorial.

“Cr Harley believes I am recording for the lord mayor, who is overseas,” Cr McEvoy said.

Cr Harley also got stuck into councillors who’d previously blocked the hotel’s listing by deferring it for further consultation with Ms Scaffidi and her husband Joe, accusing them of “kicking the can down the road”.

That caused another minor skirmish, with Cr Keith Yong saying that amounted to disparaging the council, but his point of order was knocked out by deputy mayor James Limnios who was chairing the meeting while Ms Scaffidi is overseas.

Cr McEvoy also avoided any further action on her phone use because no one else had seen it, although Cr Harley was keen to take it further.

“I would be more than happy to sign a legally binding statutory declaration to say I saw Cr McEvoy use her mobile phone to record the meeting,” Cr Harley told CEO Martin Mileham.

Following the verbal stoush, the council voted to proceed with the listing of the hotel.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

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