Mayor forced to apologise

Mayor forced to apologise

233
Canning Mayor Patrick Hall apologised to council on March 15.

An allegation that the City of Canning council “cannot be trusted” has landed Mayor Patrick Hall in hot water, with the Local Government Standards Panel [LGSP] forcing Mr Hall to make a formal apology.

The LGSP found that Mr Hall committed a minor breach of the Local Government Act when he stated the Council could not be trusted at a Special Council Meeting on May 10, 2021.

The meeting was convened to discontinue the Chief Executive Officer recruitment process after a candidate disclosed a sitting councillor had provided them with confidential information.

During the meeting, Mr Hall said: “If you feel it is appropriate that the documentary evidence that might be the basis of an investigation by the Corruption and Crime Commission should be bandied around to a Council that has proven time after time that it cannot be trusted,”

The LGSP considered the complaint, lodged by then-deputy mayor Jesse Jacobs, on August 19, with Cr Jacobs alleging in his complaint that the comment reflected adversely on the council and council members, has no basis in fact.

In his response, Mr Hall stated his comments were factual, and there is ample relevant evidence that the City of Canning Council has been unable to retain confidential information and that sensitive information has been frequently leaked to the media, to agitators within the community and even to its own stakeholders.

He also stated the complaint from Cr Jacobs was trivial and also misconceived.

However, the Panel considered that the words “a Council has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted” amounted to an adverse reflection.

Mr Hall was notified of the breach on November 10, 2021 and in a response to the panel on November 18, 2021, contested that no sanction should be imposed as he had an exemplary record as an elected member and is a person of integrity and honesty, and the finding would attract significant local and state-wide media which will reflect poorly on him personally and will cause him humiliation and embarrassment.

He also said that if a sanction was imposed, there would be other “unforeseen and far-reaching implications” with regard to him applying for Board and Committee positions.

Despite the panel noting the Mayor had showed genuine contrition, the panel found it fair and reasonable that Mayor Hall make a public apology to the Council.

The formal apology was made at the ordinary council meeting on March 15.