President’s training bill voted down

President’s training bill voted down

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Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale president Michelle Rich's request for further training was voted down in council this week. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

A request for the Serpentine Jarrahdale shire president Michelle Rich to undergo training for public speaking and media training was denied by her fellow councillors at council this week. 

Ms Rich, along with councillor Jacqui See, had requested to seek further training, which would be paid for out of the shire’s councillor fees and entitlements. 

However, at Monday night’s council meeting, councillor Morgan Byas suggested council decline the requests, a decision which was supported by five out of six councillors. 

Councillor Rob Coales was the only one to vote against the motion. 

During the debate, Mr Byas argued that with local government elections just around the corner, the timing and cost of the training was not necessary. 

While Mr Coales agreed that it was a lot of money, he believed both Ms Rich and Ms See were entitled to the training. 

“Whilst it is not ideal that it has come up at this point in the president’s term, I believe it is better for this to happen later rather than never,” he said. 

“However, if either of them are not re-elected then they should be made to repay the money.” 

The agenda item was also brought up at public statement time when former Serpentine Jarrahdale councillor Sandra Hawkins questioned the need for Ms Rich to undergo training at the shire’s cost. 

She said while it was great to hear that Ms Rich wanted to undertake further training, she said it was like shutting the stable door after the horse had already bolted. 

“All shire councillors have the opportunity to educate themselves as soon as they become elected members commencing a four-year term of office,” she said. 

“So why now, in the president’s case in her fourth year, wouldn’t it have been more beneficial from the ratepayers’ point of view to have done this type of training prior to being in a leadership position.” 

Ms Rich had requested to attend training for advanced public speaking up to the value of $5000 and media training at a cost of $695, while Ms See had requested to receive training for The Advanced Leadership Program.