Pollie plug probe

Photo Place‘totally irrelevant to my personal endorsement of Janet Woollard’

MELVILLE city council is looking into one of its councillors because he’d endorsed the re-election of independent Alfred Cove MP Janet Woollard.

Applecross-Mt Pleasant ward councillor Nick Pazolli featured last week in a Woollard advertisement in the Herald that read “working with local councillors”.

“Janet’s help has been invaluable in keeping the community informed and working with the community on local issues like high rise development, traffic control and maintaining community amenity,” Cr Pazolli had said.

Mayor Russell Aubrey—who refused to speak in person to the Herald—said in a written statement, “when a councillor is seen to publicly align themselves with a stated position of any party outside council, on matters that are still before Council, or to be brought to Council, and/or are still in the public forum, it should be regarded with concern, as it would be contrary to a councillor’s fiduciary obligations towards the community and it’s interests.”

He said, “no determination had been made with regards to the advert” but did not rule out action being taken.

Mr Aubrey is a Liberal Party member, as are several Melville city councillors.

Melville council is notorious for seeking to keep its elected members quiet. They are routinely warned off speaking to the media or criticising council decisions, and told they could end up before the local government standards panel for breaching a draconian, anti-democratic code of conduct.

Councillors are warned not to go public with their views about issues before they appear before council, to avoid accusations of prejudgement, but they are also warned not to criticise decisions once made, even if they disagree with them, because they are required to show solidarity. This leaves the council chamber as the only place they are supposed to have their say—but at Melville, most decisions go through without debate, as they are sorted out secretly, behind closed doors and away from the public gaze.

Cr Pazolli is one of a tiny handful of elected members prepared to speak out on issues he’s concerned about.

He dismisses the mayor’s statement as, “totally irrelevant to my personal endorsement of Janet Woollard’s assistance and performance during the past parliamentary period”.

“My endorsement of Janet’s performance is not aligning myself with any of her policies, or any matters before council or otherwise.

“My endorsement is purely an acknowledgement of the assistance provided to me on a variety of issues.”

Dr Woollard says other councillors have also offered to endorse her and will appear in future adverts.

by DAVID BELL

 

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