City of Stirling Mayor denies annual Mayoral Public Relations fund is ‘slush fund’ after criticism from fellow councillor

Mayor Giovanni Italiano's recent comments on talkback radio were astounding - and not in a good way
Mayor Giovanni Italiano's recent comments on talkback radio were astounding - and not in a good way

CITY of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano has denied a $15,000 annual Mayoral Public Relations fund is a “slush fund” after being questioned by a councillor last week.

Councillor Italiano said the fund was available for all councillors who needed to send condolences, commemorative plaques, flowers or wreaths for occasions and milestones in the City.

“This is not my money and not a part of my salary,” he said.

“This is for all councillors for weddings, funerals, anniversaries; this is not a slush fund.”

Former mayor, Cr Terry Tyzack, said there was “no need” for the fund and it was not in place when he was mayor.

“It is not right that the mayor has this PR fund… who says only the mayor can do networking?” he said.

“We can’t keep adding to the mayoral allowance; the mayor gets more than enough remuneration.

“It is not a full time job, there is no requirement for the mayor to be here every day of the week.”

Cr Italiano told the Stirling Times the fund had been in place for 13 years, including when Cr Tyzack was mayor.

“I’m always working; I am a full time mayor and run the city as a business,” he said.

“The account was there when he was mayor with a $9000 average spend per year.”

Councillors were set to vote on changes to the Elected Members’ Entitlements Policy on August 8 but after debate decided to hold the item over to a future meeting for further clarification.

Cr Karen Caddy attempted to move a motion to revoke the current policy as the current public relations allowance was not referred to in the policy, which was an “omission”.

“The amended recommendation is to correct that omission and to clarify that the Mayoral Public Relations allowance sits at $15,000, as per the communications with City’s officers through the week,” she said.

“The intent of the alternative recommendation was to ensure the policy reflects the existing arrangement, not to add any additional allowances to the office of mayor.”

Cr Tyzack said the benefits to the role of mayor had “grown greater”.

“I’m not happy with this amendment… the logic is not there,” he said.

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