Wednesday 28 July: Fremantle Council Meeting and Electors' Meeting Answers

D ...D... D... Debts 

Following the Electors' Meeting In June when a lively crowd of  40 people fronted the normally boring Annual Electors Meeting, Fremantle Council was left with a lot of questions to answer and motions to deal with.

They will be dealt with this coming Wednesday at the 6pm Fremantle Council meeting in North Fremantle (see Agenda and Minutes under Fremantle Council).

Because Acting Mayor Sullivan went on radio two days after the meeting and told four porkies to investigative journalist Liam Bartlett, the Fremantle Society and chartered accountant Craig Ross turned up at that night's Council meeting to ask further questions.

Porkie one was that the acting mayor stated there were only "about 20" people at the Electors' Meeting when in fact Council confirmed 40 in the audience.

Porkie two on radio occurred when Cr Sullivan said the two former councillors and friends of the mayor  forgiven their debts of $40,000 occurred "ten years ago" when in fact both were in the past 2 years.

So this question below was tabled at Council on June 25:

Liam Bartlett stated to acting mayor Sullivan on 6PR today "It isn't a good look when two former councillors have their debts to council waived!" He was referring to $22,000 for former councillor Nabor, and $17,000 for former councillor Tim Grey-Smith. Cr Sullivan stated that that was 10 years ago, but that is not true.

The $22,000 waived by the CEO for Mr Nabor is a very recent debt, and Mr Grey-Smith was forgiven his debt by the CEO Phil St John in August 2019, less than 2 years' ago, not 10.

The officers state in their report that should circumstances change, they will seek to claim debts waived.

For Mr Grey-Smith, his circumstances appear to have changed. He was employed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet before taking on the role of campaign manager for a former Labor Minister running for the mayoralty of Melville, and allegedly paid $34,000. He recently attended the farewell party for the CEO of Fremantle who waived his debt, and is allegedly now part of Cr Fitzhardinge's mayoral election team.

Given those changes in circumstances and the officers' stated possible intention of pursuing debts, will officers be pursuing such debts on ratepayers' behalf?

This question was severely edited before being published in the Minutes, and the answer provided this week is that the debts will not be pursued.

Porkie three related to Cr Sullivan stating that the total costs of the administration building to date are $39 million. Having waded through hundreds of pages of council financial documents, many deliberately misleading it would appear, chartered accountant and FICRA (Fremantle Inner City Residents' Association) committee member Craig Ross will reveal the total cost tomorrow. It will shock you.

Answers to the many other questions asked at the Electors' Meeting and the motions put will be analysed and summarised for you tomorrow, so you can stay at home nice and warm and devour Netflix. But the Fremantle Society will pursue financial integrity and a better Fremantle on your behalf and attend yet another exciting council meeting.

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society

0409 223622

Picture: thanks to Homer and the internet.


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