A BAYSWATER councillor who booked a $3542 training course that starts just two weeks before council elections says she’ll repay the money if she’s not re-elected.
Catherine Ehrhardt dipped into her $15,000 councillor training allowance to book into the Australian Institution of Company Directors’ three-day Foundations of Directorship Certificate, which is being held in Perth starting October 3, saying it would make her a better councillor.
The course actually runs beyond her current term, with two classes on October 31 and November 28, but Cr Ehrhardt said before booking in she discussed reimbursing the city with CEO Andrew Brien if she was unsuccessful at the election.
Cr Ehrhardt said she even raised the need to tighten the policy to prevent unscrupulous councillors skilling themselves up at the end of their terms, only to scarper with no benefit to the ratepayer.
“Whilst I hold myself to a high standard of integrity, there’s nothing to stop other people from abusing this policy,” Cr Ehrhardt told the Voice.
Some of the training paid for by the council in the past two years included:
• $1250 each for “project media training” for mayor Dan Bull and deputy mayor Chris Cornish in February 2018;
• $1869 in airfare and accommodation plus a $2595 ticket for Cr Sally Palmer to attend Melbourne’s “2nd Applying Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning for Enterprises Conference” in May this year;
• $7235 for former councillor Brent Fleeton to attend the AICD’s company director’s course in August 2017;
• $8210 for Cr Cornish to complete a graduate diploma of applied corporate governance through the Governance Institute of Australia, 2016-2018.
by DAVID BELL