STIRLING Mayor Mark Irwin and councillors came under fire during last night’s electors meeting.
Several residents attempted to question Cr Irwin regarding his failed Osborne Park business Selby Health and Fitness, of which nearly 80 members are trying to claim $13,000 in refunds through Consumer Protection.
Scarborough resident Phil Smith asked if the mayor should demonstrate honesty, integrity and capacity for running a successful business but had this ruled out of order by Cr Irwin.
Lisa Thompson, of Trigg, had her comments relating to the mayor immediately ruled out of order but was able to ask if he should stand aside, which Cr Irwin believed he should not.
She later tried to move a motion against him but this was quashed.
Cr Irwin said it was a personal not local government matter and had support of the council.
Mrs Thompson said she was “disheartened” by the rulings.
“I was really disappointed that we were shut down,” she said.
“I think ratepayers have a right to hear from the mayor… there’s a serious cloud of credibility hanging over the City of Stirling.”
Mr Smith was also disappointed and wanted Cr Irwin to clarify the situation with his business.
“There was basically no response from Mark Irwin, every question was ruled out of order,” he said.
“If you’re going to be a public figure you have to make a comment.
“I think he should have full disclosure.”
Councillors were also criticised during the meeting, with Dom White expressing “disgust” at councillors typing on their phones and laughing while residents were speaking.
Mr White moved a motion for a code of conduct for councillors during meetings, which was carried by a large majority of the about 40 attendees.
A later motion by David Brown was also enthusiastically supported, which sought to ban councillors, officers and attendees from using electronic devices during meetings besides what is essential.
Mr White later said he was concerned some councillors had not been paying attention and believed the meeting reflected “disillusionment” with the City.
“Whilst I was sitting there listening to electors exercise their right to air their grievances and have them listened to, there were quite a number of (not all) councillors who were using their mobile phones, just having a chat or doing unrelated things,” he said.
Another successful motion was presented by Simon Wheeler, who queried the WorkSafe improvement notices previously issued to the City and reports of bullying, and proposed a motion that sanctions previously imposed on Cr Elizabeth Re be revoked at the next council meeting.
This was eagerly seconded and carried by attendees.
Stuart McDonald tried to move a motion of no confidence in the City’s planning department, after several questions relating to the proposed international school in Doubleview, but this was ruled out of order.