Council: Perth commissioners knock back Deputy Lord Mayor’s legal fees request

City of Perth Council House.
City of Perth Council House.

PERTH’s Deputy Lord Mayor Jemma Green will not be reimbursed for legal expenses after commissioners knocked back the request at December’s meeting.

The City received two applications from Ms Green in November for reimbursement, seeking $14,155.35 in total.

The legal expenses related to complaints made against Ms Green to the Local Government Standards Panel, where she was found to have not committed alleged minor breaches of rules of conduct.

The City’s governance department said the application did not meet the criteria for reimbursement, and costs incurred in relation to a Standards Panel were not ‘legal representation costs’.

Chair Commissioner Eric Lumsden said he had wrestled with the issue.

“The Standards Panel is meant to be non-legal,” he said.

“If a person wants to seek independent legal advice, it’s their decision.”

Deputy Chair Commissioner Gaye McMath said she had some empathy for the request but with the advice provided by governance, it was appropriate to refuse it.

Point Fraser parking in East Perth was also a hot topic at the council meeting, with Commissioner Andrew Hammond labelling it a “wicked problem”.

The officer recommendation was to decommission the area’s overflow car park following advice from the Department of Transport and environmental considerations on the reserve site.

City Foreshore Investments’ Neil Irvine said he was wasting his time promoting the site if there was not enough parking.

“If we don’t fix this problem, I might as well just shut the doors and let it sit there,” he said.

Mr Lumsden said he was concerned about any assumption an overflow car park could be permanent.

The commissioners voted to seek immediate advice from government agencies about the area’s environmental integrity along with approving a three-month trial for revised fees at Point Fraser car park and developing a new car park management plan.

Two Perth meetings are scheduled for next week on Tuesday, January 15, including the Annual General Meeting for ratepayers and stakeholders at 5.30pm.

A Special Council Meeting to consider issues including Perth Fashion Festival sponsorship and the City’s outdoor dining policy is also scheduled to take place that evening.