BAYSWATER councillor Brent Fleeton has been cleared of breaching the Local Government Act 1995, after a complaint was made against him in September.
Cr Fleeton sent letters featuring a council letterhead to 1000 households in Morley and Noranda on August 20, which criticised the City’s 4.9 per cent rate rise.
Bayswater chief executive and complaints officer Andrew Brien submitted a complaint to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, which stated an internal review was undertaken that found Cr Fleeton may have breached regulations 7a and 8 and section 4.87 of the Local Government Act 1995.
The Local Government Standards Panel considered the allegations and the information relating to the complaint and found Cr Fleeton did not commit a breach of regulations 7 and 8 at its meeting today.
Cr Fleeton said common sense prevailed and the complaint was thrown out.
“It was disappointing to hear that someone was so aggravated by what I said about the City’s huge budget issues and addiction to spending that they had to go to the Department using a formal process in an attempt to silence me, instead of approaching me directly and putting their views,” he said.
Cr Fleeton said he stood by sending the letters as local councillors should communicate frequently with the community they serve and not just via social media.
“Not everyone is on Facebook and I think people appreciate the effort it takes to stay in touch with them via traditional ways like writing a letter,” he said.
“I’m putting a newsletter out in the next few months and I will maintain my pressure on the upcoming budget process for 2018-2019.”
Cr Fleeton said local councils could become “echo chambers” without a strong voice standing up for the silent majority.
“With so many challenges facing Bayswater’s budget over the next few years, that pressure will be critical in reminding council that a vast number of people want nothing more out of their local government than the traditional services we are known for,” he said.