STIRLING mayor Giovanni Italiano and councillor Andrew Guilfoyle are off to Spain in April for a two-day conference on “coastal cities and their sustainable future”, while CEO Stuart Jardine will spend three days in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the “transforming local government” annual conference.
Both trips came under scrutiny during Tuesday night’s meeting of council.
Teresa Olow, who ran against Cr Italiano in the 2015 council election, used public question time to ask why the mayor’s expenses were more than $11,000 while Cr Guilfoyle was claiming a smidge over $4000 for the same trip.
Turns out Cr Guilfoyle is happy travelling economy class, while the mayor prefers business class, with Cr Italiano justifying the extra expense to the Voice on the basis he’d not spent all his travel allowance from the previous year and it had been rolled over to add to this year’s allocation.
“We’ve got funds to accommodate travel and it’s at the councillors’ discretion, whether it’s me or Cr Guilfoyle,” Cr Italiano said.
“I have not used any of my travel allowance at all, and that’s just how it works.
“I feel this conference will provide me with a wealth of knowledge to assist the city in tackling the need for resources, infrastructure and services that will be required as part of these major developments,” the mayor said of projects such as the Scarborough Pool.
Meanwhile councillors were divided over whether CEO Stuart Jardine should fly to Tulsa for “the premier thinking conference for local government” at a cost of $6198.
“I believe that two overseas conferences in one financial year … is more than enough absence for our CEO,” Cr Terry Tyzack said.
“And you might argue that a CEO at the top of his game … doesn’t need to go to the USA for seven consecutive years for personal development.”
But Cr Karen Caddy spoke in the CEO’s defence, and council approved his travel plans with only Crs Elizabeth Re, David Lagan, and Tyzack voting against it.
“If we approve this conference, it is my expectation it would be his one conference for this year”, Cr Caddy said.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM