A City of Melville councillor defended planning staff over a Melville City Herald article

Not happy: Cr Schuster.
Not happy: Cr Schuster.

A NEWSPAPER article about City of Melville planning staff prompted a councillor at last week's ordinary meeting to table a motion designed to defend staff he believed had been the subject of a slur.

Cr Cameron Schuster presented a motion addressing an article in the Melville City Herald (Power push: September 27) he said contained an ‘inferred slur on (the City’s) planning staff’ when it stated Cr Nick Pazolli wanted to ‘pull back powers from planning staff, warning there is potential for corruption to flourish’.

The article referred to a debate at the council’s September ordinary meeting where Cr Pazolli asked Council to consider allowing the advertisement of non-complying multi-unit housing applications to neighbours and councillors.

‘When I read the article I was very disappointed and surprised because there was no mention of any corruption or bribery during the meeting,’ Cr Schuster said.

Cr Schuster said he accessed the meeting recording to confirm his recollection of the conversation.

‘I found them to be full of reasoned and logical debate by all participants, with no hint of the inferences and allegations contained in the Herald article,’ he said.

‘I then put myself in the position of planning staff and I believe the council needs to speak out on behalf of them, as we are the only people who can do so.’

The motion, which passed 10-3, asked Council to note the Herald did not have a representative at the meeting, nor access the recording, and to reject the inferred slur on planning staff. It also asked the Mayor to write to the Herald and other media stating the City’s confidence in its staff and the City’s policies and processes.

‘Inferences and articles such as these only draw unwarranted attention to promoting the possibility of corruption and are in my view manifestly unfair to the City’s staff, who conduct their work within the laws of the State and the City,’ Cr Schuster said.