MELVILLE councillor Steve Kepert has been referred to the State Administrative Tribunal by CEO Marten Tieleman following last week’s fractious council meeting.
Cr Kepert had called for an independent consultant to help councillors with the CEO’s performance appraisal, but the closed-doors meeting developed into a slanging match when he moved a procedural motion calling for Mr Tieleman and other staff to vacate the chamber (he reckons our description of it being a “demand” last week was a bit strong (“Melville meeting descends into shouting match,” Herald, May 22, 2021).
Two days later Cr Kepert’s name popped on the civil listings for the State Administrative Tribunal in an action brought by Mr Tieleman.
The council said the CEO had “referred the non-compliance of an order” to the SAT as required under the local government act.
While the council’s statement didn’t go into specifics, it’s almost certainly related to a sanction imposed on Cr Kepert by the local government standards panel in 2018. He’d been found to have committed three minor regulation breaches over Facebook posts criticising social media site Melville City Chat.
Two required him to offer a public apology which he did, but the third required him to undergo training; the Herald understands that whether that occurred will be at the heart of the SAT hearing.
Cr Kepert told the Herald he still hadn’t received any documentation about the matter and wasn’t at liberty to say a great deal, but said bringing up a 2018 issue after Tuesday’s meeting was “very interesting” timing.
The council said Cr Kepert was free to apply for council help to fund his defence, but “as this is not a personal matter for the CEO” the council legal representation policy wouldn’t apply in Mr Tieleman’s case.
Cr Kepert, who reckons he’s likely to be knocked back, has hit back at the city’s decision to take his motion behind closed doors, and says the city has failed to include it in the minutes as required.
by STEVE GRANT