‘It’s adding insult to injury now having our money used in advertorials against us under the banner of WALGA, which I regard as corporate bully,’ Mayor Jock Barker said, as Claremont considered cancelling its WALGA membership for 2013/14 last week.
Mr Barker said any claim Mr Pickard was representing the majority of mayors was untrue, which was demonstrated by most mayors refusing to allow WALGA to write their reply to the State Government’s Robson Report at a Victoria Park meeting late last year.
Staff said WALGA membership, which cost $12,334 annually, saved Claremont $187,892 with discount deals on advertising ($23,622), energy ($30,449), IT (27.202) telecommunications ($36,100) and workers compensation ($53,429), but the association appeared ‘unconcerned’ its State Council ignored motions sent from its members at regional zone meetings.
Claremont councillors agreed to renew WALGA membership but also requested Mr Pickard be censured at the association’s August 7 annual general meeting for advocating merger options that could eliminate small councils.
Claremont deputy mayor Bruce Haynes said Mr Pickard, the City of Joondalup mayor, had a personal view on mergers and was using its members’ money to advocate for larger councils.
In a WALGA-paid column last month, Mr Pickard said: ‘I do not accept the misty-eyed daydream that somehow only smaller local governments can properly serve the community’.
Mr Pickard said WALGA’s position was backed by 65 per cent of mayors and presidents.
‘I am disappointed that those in the minority view cannot respect the democratic process when it does not align with their views, and that one particular issue is used to discount the myriad of advocacy efforts on behalf of all councils,’ Mr Pickard said.