Council under fire

Council under fire

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Shire president John Erren standing outside the civic centre where the council meetings are held, says the council was not judged on fact. Photograph – Juanita Shepherd.

The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale held its annual meeting of electors on January 23, which ran for more than three hours and saw more than 50 residents packed into council chambers, including two police officers.

Following the reading of the president’s report and the auditor’s report, Byford resident John Kirkpatrick addressed the meeting.

Mr Kirkpatrick moved a motion to reject both reports and moved a motion of no confidence in president John Erren and acting chief executive Gary Clark.

Meeting attendee Lee Bond seconded him and the motion was carried 32 to 23 receiving a loud round of applause from residents.

Mr Kirkpatrick said he deliberately moved the motion to not accept the two reports.

“This now means that a report must come to the next council meeting,” he said.

“The council can either accept the reports and deny the voice of the electors as expressed at the meeting or refuse their own reports.”

Mr Kirkpatrick described the meeting ‘a fiasco’ and said it was clear to him the president and chief executive were trying to run it as an ordinary council meeting.

“I was aware they (the council) were warned that I would do something, probably move a motion of no confidence but not when,” he said.

“It was also interesting they had the police in attendance.

“I have a history of being vocal but not violent.”

Mr Erren said the presence of the police had nothing to do with Mr Kirkpatrick.

“I have regular meetings with the senior sergeant,” he said.

“He sometimes sends over some cops to meetings as we work closely with them on all matters.”

Mr Kirkpatrick said he would not wait to see how the council would handle this issue.

Mr Erren said the vote of no confidence was based on false information and assumptions from a small section of the community.

“The vote was effectively attempting to censure the shire president and acting CEO for doing their job engaging with the community,” he said.

“We are not being judged on fact.”

Mr Erren said there would be many hours spent from the economic team reviewing the reports.

“All resolutions from the meeting will be put to council for consideration at the March ordinary council meeting,” he said.

“We plan to keep doing what we have been doing for the last six months.

“Consult with the community to understand their priorities, make a plan to deliver those priorities and work with the community on how to best to fund these priorities.”