Facebook post led to public censure for Wanneroo councillor Paul Miles

Paul Miles.
Paul Miles.

A FACEBOOK post relating to a confidential council decision about road construction in the Wanneroo town centre resulted in public censure for a councillor.

The Local Government Standards Panel has published its findings following a complaint from Cr Dot Newton about a Facebook post by Cr Paul Miles.

The panel decided to order the City of Wanneroo to publish a notice of public censure after investigating the post from November 2017.

Cr Newton’s complaint about the minor breach alleged Cr Miles had breached local government regulations by disclosing information that he obtained during the confidential session of the November 2017 council meeting.

At the time, the council approved the City entering a legal agreement and spending an unbudgeted $520,000 in relation to road construction for the town centre.

The panel’s presiding member Emma Power said public censure was an appropriate penalty as “unauthorised disclosure has the potential to undermine the trust and confidence of council members in each other”.

“Cr Miles has not acknowledged the minor breach, nor apologised or accepted responsibility for his misconduct,” she said.

“In all his prior submissions Cr Miles asserted that he did not consider that his actions constituted a minor breach.

“The panel considers this to be the appropriate penalty as it will send a message to the community and other councillors that Cr Miles’s conduct was unacceptable.”

Cr Miles told Community News he had “taken it on the chin” and had deleted the post when the City’s administration advised him of the complaint.

“I did a Facebook post last November that council had agreed with my long-term thoughts as the local member to reopen Conlan Avenue,” the former State MP said.

“It’s not like there’s any fraud or anything; to generally talk about a road being reopened, it’s a very minor issue.

“I’ve always believed in being transparent in everything I do.”

The Central Ward councillor said he understood what they were saying and that it could be perceived as a trust issue, but he hadn’t experienced a loss of trust from fellow councillors.