City of Perth council a ‘basket case’, says Premier Mark McGowan

Premier Mark McGowan. Picture: Jon Bassett
Premier Mark McGowan. Picture: Jon Bassett

PREMIER Mark McGowan continued to criticise the City of Perth council last week, this time calling it a “basket case”.

His comments came after more controversy hit the embattled council with the sudden departure of chief executive Martin Mileham on February 19, who took personal leave.

It was revealed Mr Mileham had discovered just days earlier he had been investigated from November 2017 to January 2018 without his or council’s knowledge by a third party firm at a cost of $25,000 to the City.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said on Tuesday the investigation by Herbert Smith Freehills had “come out of left field”.

“(It was) a non-council endorsed investigation conducted by an external legal firm… without the knowledge of the officer or council,” she said.

Deputy Lord Mayor Jemma Green later revealed her role in the investigation, saying she acted on legal advice about allegations made by a property developer about the chief executive’s conduct.

She said legal advice given to her was that the matters did not constitute reasonable grounds to suspect serious or minor misconduct, so it was dropped.

Ms Scaffidi said the City was investigating how Freehills was appointed without council approval.

Mr McGowan said the council was “dysfunctional”.

“The City of Perth is a basket case, we’ve know that for a long period of time,” he said.

“We’ve done everything we can up until now to come up with a solution.”

Local Government Minister David Templeman said on February 22 that his department was holding a “thorough” investigation.

“The department’s investigating, going through interviewing, with assigned investigative officers,” he said.

“I’m waiting for their report to move.

“The department understands it’s serious and they’ll exhaust what they need to do in terms of interviews and access to documentation.”

The report is due this week.

MORE: Search off Mandurah ends after second body found from capsized racing yacht

MORE: Wright breaks Rottnest Channel Swim record

MORE: US supermarket giant Costco headed to WA

MORE: Rocks and objects thrown at police during out of control gathering in Warnbro