Templeman to read Cockburn the riot act

LOCAL government minister David Templeman has flagged dismissing Cockburn councillors if they don’t lift their act.

The minister told the Herald he was meeting the councillors next week following the two-month suspension of councillor Lee-Anne Smith by the State Administrative Tribunal this week over her refusal to apologise to a colleague.

“I am concerned about the reports of councillor behaviour at the City of Cockburn,” Mr Templeman said.

“The Local Government Act has provisions to enable the minister to suspend a dysfunctional council and the McGowan government passed amendments to that legislation last year to enable the suspension or dismissal of an individual councillor.

Dismissal

“While I have not had occasion to use these powers to date, I would not hesitate to use them if circumstances warranted.”

Mr Templeman said he would discuss this with councillors, as well as reminding them of their obligations to the community under the Local Government Act.

Ms Smith, a former deputy mayor, was also fined $6000 for her refusal to apologise to Cr Chontelle Stone, who’d she incorrectly claimed was being investigated by the local government department and had lied about an impartiality interest.

On Thursday Cr Smith told the Herald her fine and suspension superseded the order to apologise, so Cr Stone wouldn’t be hearing from her on that account.

Cr Smith said she had been on council for 11 years and would serve out her suspension before resuming her duties.

by STEVE GRANT

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