Smith resigns over sitting fees

COCKBURN councillor Lee-Anne Smith has resigned from the South Metropolitan Regional Council saying she can no longer accept receiving $18,000 in annual “sitting” fees and allowances.

“I didn’t feel comfortable receiving it,” she told the Herald, having been elected by her colleagues to the SMRC in October.

Under local government entitlements, $19,000 a year is paid to the SMRC chair as an annual allowance plus $15,000 in “sitting” fees for attending all committee meetings, about 32 a year.

The deputy chair—now vacant—receives about $20,000 and other members $10,000.

An additional $3500 is paid to all SMRC members to reimburse them for “information and communication technology expenses”.

All payments are on top of other council allowances.

Fifteen members sit on the SMRC, drawn from member councils Cockburn, Fremantle, Kwinana and Melville.

The chair is Melville councillor Cameron Schuster.

“At the first meeting I attended an item was put forward to increase sitting fees for members,” Cr Smith says. She decided to quit after receiving three monthly cheques for $1500.

“Initially, I did not know what the fees were,” she said. “It was my fault for not paying closer attention.”

She also resigned as she was not happy with the direction taken by the SMRC to disband its public relations committee: “I wish them all the best,” she says.


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