BAYSWATER council is set to appoint an independent investigator to look into minor complaints against councillors.
Earlier this week the council voted on a complaints policy to go with its new Code of Conduct, with the investigator to report to full council on whether a breach has occurred and if any recalcitrant councillor needs to undertake training.
The policy also opens the way for mediation between a complainant and a councillor.
But the council barely has the budget to cover the two complaints already lodged under the new code (a third was deemed not to meet the criteria).
A report to this week’s council meeting said it would cost between $5000 and $10,000 to investigate a single complaint, but the council’s legal expenses budget for councillors is just $20,000. The council item recommends that be topped up at an upcoming budget review.
Taking a leaf out of WA’s Corruption and Crime Commission, any complaint is to be kept confidential until the council decides a breach has occurred.