The Department recently reviewed the Local Government (rules of conduct) regulations and minor breach disciplinary framework and has invited local governments to comment.
The minor breach system was intended to prevent inappropriate conduct by elected members that could lead to council dysfunction, loss of trust between council and administration, impair local government’s integrity and reduce public confidence.
According to the review, the current regulations did not adequately address some “significantly dysfunctional” conduct that harmed local government performance.
It showed there were a lot of unsound, unsupported and trivial complaints that increased system congestion and cost and put unnecessary stress on elected members.
It also showed there was a poor understanding of the system and low level of “lessons learned” from the panel’s determinations.
Councillor Terry Kenyon said the current regulations did not enforce conduct or |penalise members for breaches.
Cr Chris Cornish said the case of City of Perth Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, who failed to disclose gifts and hospitality packages, was an example of the framework being ineffective.
“It’s farcical what happened in the City of Perth to the Mayor… someone who so flagrantly breached the rules by such a magnitude,” he said.
Cr Brent Fleeton said the answer was to review the Local Government Act: “Something that should have been done with the Scaffidi case”.