A report by the Department of Local Government has recommended that the Minister consider suspending the council of the City of South Perth and appointing commissioners to run the city.
Local Government Minister Paul Omodei tabled the report in Parliament today and said he would consider the courses of action available to him before making a decision.
Mr Omodei told Parliament that the inquiry had been established by the executive director of the department, Mr John Lynch, with 12 terms of reference covering affairs at South Perth between January 1, 1999 and September 15, 2000.
The report concluded that the conduct of the council, the Mayor and councillors with few exceptions, and the CEO Mr David Moylan, was of grave concern.
Mr Moylan’s behaviour in relation to the inquiry was threatening and inappropriate.
The report concluded that ‘… the operation and affairs of the city … are not being conducted in an acceptable manner and there is little prospect that the council has the will or ability to return it to a reasonable standard …’.
The report also said ‘… the avoidance of proper process has allowed a serious breakdown in accountability’ and ‘... the failure of the majority of elected members to properly fulfil their role provides potential for major breakdown in local government ...’.
Some aspects of the inquiry could not be completed and the report recommended that an inquiry be appointed under Section 8.16 of the Local Government Act to complete the inquiry with reviewed terms of reference.
It also recommended that commissioners appointed to run the city if the council were suspended should take action to dismiss Mr Moylan for misconduct.
It found that a ‘redundancy’ payment made to Mr Moylan when he moved from the position of general manager to the higher paid position of CEO was not justified and Mr Moylan’s role in this and other payments was improper.
The council had failed in its duty to ensure that Mr Moylan was suitably qualified for the position of CEO, and the inquiry found that Mr Moylan was unsuitable to hold the position, particularly in view of his improper conduct.
The report said only a small minority of councillors appreciated that something was wrong and made some endeavour to ensure that council acted properly.
The majority of elected members had demonstrated a lack of appreciation of their proper role and responsibilities.
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