Melville city councillor Nick Pazolli was unable to attend a crucial budget meeting Wednesday because it might have breached an interim violence restraining order mayor Russell Aubrey had taken against him.
Cr Pazolli is not allowed within 10 metres of the mayor nor is he permitted to try to communicate with him. Their seats in the council chamber are about eight metres apart.
Cr Pazolli says it is “disappointing and frustrating” the order is affecting his ability to do the job he was elected to do.
The mayor applied for the VRO following a heated private meeting between himself and Cr Pazolli, at which a senior council staffer was present.
Cr Pazolli is disputing the order, saying he’s no threat to Mr Aubrey and the VRO should never have been issued.
The Herald asked council media minder Joanna Arbel to put us through to the mayor so we could talk to him about the VRO but she refused to even pass on the request.
“As it’s a personal matter I won’t be pursuing it with him,” she said.
Cr Pazolli, who pays close attention to the state of the council’s finances, sent an email to council colleagues about the budget but was unable to send it to Mr Aubrey—who by law is the only person who can speak on the council’s behalf—without breaching the VRO.
“Obviously I’m not happy, but I’m hoping that will all be resolved or varied on Monday when there’s a variation at the magistrate’s court,” Cr Pazolli told the Herald.
On July 1 Cr Pazolli will ask the magistrate to permit him to communicate with the mayor in an official capacity.
On July 15 the court will hear arguments about whether to keep the VRO for up to two years or quash it.
by DAVID BELL