TENSIONS hit boiling point at Perth Council last night as supporters of Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi launched a surprise attack on her critical Deputy, James Limnios.
Last week Cr Limnios called on the Lord Mayor to stand down until the State Administrative Tribunal had responded to the 45 breach allegations levelled against Ms Scaffidi by the Department of Local Government.
Last night Scaffidi loyalist Janet Davidson tabled an “urgent motion”, without notice, of no confidence in the Deputy Lord Mayor.
As grounds for the motion, Cr Davidson said Cr Limnios had not attended enough events when the Lord Mayor had been unable to accept an invitation, saying his attendance rate was 30 per cent; whenever the Deputy Lord Mayor had been unable to attend, another member of council would go to represent the City.
Cr Reece Harley noted the no confidence motion did not meet the standards necessary for an urgent motion and should have been dealt with in the normal way, with notice given.
“The matter is not urgent. It doesn’t meet the test… Delaying it to the next meeting would not have an adverse effect on the financial status of the City,” he said.
Cr Harley said Lord Mayor Scaffidi allowing the attack on Cr Limnios was in direct contravention to the advice given by the chief executive officer on what was permitted as urgent business.
He asked the chief executive Martin Mileham if the Lord Mayor was rejecting his advice, but he avoided the issue, telling Cr Harley to direct that question to Ms Scaffidi.
“This is unacceptable political blindsiding,” Cr Harley said.
Deputy Lord Mayor Limnios described the ambush as “very coincidental”.
“This is a bit of payback from the Lord Mayor… This is about having a go at me and making it personal, when it is your failings in public life that has brought us to this point,” he said.
Cr Harley asked for a recess to read the document alleged to support the motion of no confidence.
After being permitted three minutes, he dissected the events listed, pointing out that Cr Limnios had good grounds for skipping a number of the activities and that other councillors had stepped in to attend.
“Do councillors truly believe that the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor should attend all events; that there be no opportunity for other councillors to attend any event?
“It is an honour to represent the City and councillors should have the opportunity to do so,” he said.
Cr Jemma Green, who successfully moved a number of motions to improve City transparency in the same meeting, described the move against Cr Limnios as an “ambush”.
The motion of no confidence was passed 5-4, with the Lord Mayor, Cr Davidson, Jim Adamos, Keith Young and Judy McEvoy voting for it.
Councillors Harley, Limnios, Green and Lily Chen opposed the move, which has no legal standing whatsoever against an elected member.