Mayor ‘mis­led’ pub­lic

Canning Times - - NEWS - Ben Smith

CAN­NING Mayor Paul Ng breached lo­cal gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions and in­ten­tion­ally mis­led the pub­lic about fel­low coun­cil­lor Patrick Hall in the lead-up to last year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion, a panel has found.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Stan­dards Panel ruled Mayor Ng in­ten­tion­ally caused detri­ment to Cr Hall in a se­ries of in­ter­views with an­other lo­cal news­pa­per ahead of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions last year.

He claimed Cr Hall had been dis­hon­est about his sup­port for the Wil­let­ton Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s projects and ac­cused him of mislead­ing the com­mu­nity by pub­lish­ing an elec­tion flyer claim­ing he helped se­cure $60,000 for the Ross­moyne Net­ball Club project.

The Au­gust 2017 or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing min­utes show Cr Hall moved a mo­tion to al­lo­cate about $60,000 to the Ross­moyne Net­ball Club to part-fund the project, which was car­ried unan­i­mously.

The panel also found the mayor mis­rep­re­sented Cr Hall’s in­volve­ment in the Wil­let­ton Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion project and breached coun­cil­lor stan­dards of con­duct by ini­ti­at­ing con­tact with the news­pa­per dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod.

Cr Hall asked to de­fer fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for Wil­let­ton Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion at coun­cil meet­ings in June and De­cem­ber 2016, which he said was not be­cause he was op­posed to the ap­pli­ca­tion, but be­cause he wanted to seek clar­ity in re­la­tion to sev­eral is­sues.

The panel ruled Mayor Ng at­tempted to por­tray Cr Hall as a “dis­hon­est and un­trust­wor­thy per­son, at a time when the com­mu­nity would be fo­cused on can­di­dates’ cred­i­bil­ity”.

The panel de­cided against or­der­ing the mayor to make a pub­lic apol­ogy, in­stead opt­ing for him to un­der­take train­ing to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of ethics in a lead­er­ship role.

Cr Hall said he felt vin­di­cated by the find­ings.

“The tim­ing of Mayor Paul Ng’s ap­proach to the me­dia – just 16 days be­fore the 2017 Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tion – and his at­tempt to por­tray me as dis­hon­est and un­truth­ful, was an ex­traor­di­nary and un­prece­dented act,” he said.

“My great­est dis­ap­point­ment is that many res­i­dents who read the 2017 front page story will have be­lieved what had been writ­ten about me.”

In a state­ment last week, Mayor Ng said he be­lieved he had been act­ing in the City’s best in­ter­ests at all times.

Can­ning Mayor Paul Ng

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