‘No respect for democracy’

Former Canning mayor Joe Delle Donne. Picture: Elle Borgward
Former Canning mayor Joe Delle Donne. Picture: Elle Borgward

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson dismissed the council after an inquiry into the operations of the organisation.

‘It’s disgraceful; this type of thing only happens in Thailand where democracy doesn’t exist,’ Mr Delle Donne said.

‘Everybody knows that the local government is a creature of the State Government and the State Government do whatever they like.

‘It’s got no respect for democracy. If we, the members of the council, were elected by the people, they should have decided if we were not giving good governance.’

In 2012, the then-mayor asked the State Government to launch a corruption inquiry into his own council because of staffing and administrative matters.

In May this year, a report was tabled in State Parliament by barrister Christopher Kendall, whose inquiry recommended the council be dismissed.

Dr Kendall found the council ‘failed to provide for the good government’ of people in its district. Lack of transparency and effective community engagement, and failings by the council and the administration were reasons given for the dismissal.

Mr Simpson tabled his response to the report in Parliament on September 16.

‘After carefully considering the inquiry report and submissions from the City and former councillors, I decided it was appropriate to accept Dr Kendall’s recommendation to dismiss the council,’ Mr Simpson said.

The report contained 91 findings.

At the time of the suspension in November 2012, the council had 11 councillors, including the mayor. There are four councillors still in their term of office.

After the dismissal of the council and sacking of Canning Commissioner Linton Reynolds, Mr Delle Donne referred to the running of the State Government as a ‘dictatorship’.

‘If the people of the City of Canning, all our ratepayers, would have said ‘you haven’t done a good job, we’re not going to vote you back in’, that’s fine, I’ve got no problem with that,’ he said. ‘But they get the government to come in and decide and say we’re not giving good governance.’

Mr Delle Donne said he was also disappointed the State Government stood Mr Reynolds down after they appointed him.

‘Obviously, they sacked him because he was not doing what the government wanted,’ he said.

‘First they got rid of the council because they were not doing what the government wanted. We are supposed to be a democratic society here.

‘They’re a dictatorship.’

Commissioners sworn in
THE three new commissioners appointed by Local Government Minister Tony Simpson to oversee the City of Canning were sworn in last Wednesday.
Mr Simpson dumped former commissioner Linton Reynolds and dismissed the Canning council the previous day, after an inquiry into council operations, and appointed Steven Cole, David Gray and Stephanie (Steve) Smith to run the council until amalgamations in July next year.
Mr Cole said he was excited to start with the City of Canning.
‘We are all looking forward to working closely with the City’s officers and engaging with the community to ensure the continuing high level of the City’s services and facilities to its ratepayers and residents, pending the return to a fully elected council by October 2015,’ Mr Cole said.
– Steven Cole
Chair of Commissioners Steven Cole is a Perth-based lawyer and corporate consultant with more than 40 years of professional, corporate and business experience. Specialising in corporate governance, his current board roles include ASX-listed, statutory authority and charitable organisations.
– David Gray
Commissioner David Gray is a life member of the Local Government Planners Association. He is a planning consultant with extensive experience on development assessment panels and on land use projects.
– Stephanie (Steve) Smith
Commissioner Stephanie Smith has a background in local government, having served as a commissioner at both Joondalup and South Perth. Ms Smith has authored several training manuals for local government officers and elected councillors.