The City Of Perth Inquiry has ended today with a scathing conclusion from Mr Tony Power this morning, with hundreds of recommendations and findings handed over to Local Government Minister David Templeman.
Overall, 341 recommendations and over 250 findings were presented to the minister following the closing of inquiry.
During the 30 minutes conclusion this morning, Mr Power described “some of witnesses who gave the evidence to the inquiry were reluctant, and at time obstinate in the way they chose to give evidence.”
He said all witnesses were treated fairly, without fear or favour, and no one was denied an opportunity to put his or her side of the story provided it was relevant to the inquiry.
Over 135 matters have been referrals to 17 different State & Commonwealth authorities, with suspected criminal behavior in respect to 23 individuals and 1 organization.
They include council members and people within the senior administration.
“On the evidence of the bases on the information obtained by it, the inquiry considers that during 1st, October 2015 to March 2018, the council of the City Of Perth is poorly led, divided, and as a result dysfunctional,” Mr Power said.
In the conclusion, Mr Power summarized saying former Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi “encouraged division and factionalism”, and relations between councilors are “cankerous”.
He also said council has made decisions with lack of transparency and accountability.
“The Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi occupied an important role and had a statutory obligation to provide leadership and guidance to the whole of council,” he said.
“Instead she too often encouraged division and factionalism. Relations between councilors are frequently cankerous and not conducive to the production and the collaborative working relationship that should have existed.”
Meanwhile, the city council’s senior management has also been described in the conclusion as “dysfunction and inefficient”, and did not provide effective leadership.
He said these are results of poor governance at the city, with a background of widespread cultural and systemic failings.
The inquiry also found that many misconducts were not properly identified, investigated, and acted upon.
“Under their watch, the administration at many levels made or was allowed to make too many poor decisions, across a broad range of matters,” Mr Power said.
“These included poor decisions into the procurement of goods and services, project management, human resources, and grants and sponsorship.”
On the issue of allowances, Mr Power stated in the summary that some members of the council “exploited” the allowances, with some members and employees failed to disclose and manage conflicts of interests, financial interests and receive of gifts.
“… Some members of the council and some members of the administration engaged in improper, and unethical behavior, and behaved in ways that fall well short of what was expected of them,” he said.
“The trappings and privileges of high office in the form of dining, clothing, and grooming allowances were exploited by some members of the council. They often did so in their own benefit, at the ratepayers expense, with little regard for the interest of the community as a whole.”
The City Of Perth inquiry was announced back in 24th, April, 2018 by Local Government Minister David Templeman, following extensive fallouts within the council due to disunity and allowance matters.
Three commissioners were appointed to take over the council, after the Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and fellow councilors were dismissed by the minister.