Salim’s council claims a new low
HE’S been convicted for electoral fraud, stalking his former wife and assaulting both a taxi driver and a journalist and now Salim Mehajer holds the record for being part of the most complained-about Sydney council.
Mehajer was the former deputy mayor of Auburn Council, which was dissolved in February 2016 — but not before receiving 397 official complaints in 2015-16.
This is the highest number of complaints any NSW council has received since at least 2008, according to Office of Local Government figures obtained exclusively by The Sunday Telegraph. Most councils average about 20 complaints per year.
The vast majority of complaints about Auburn were for misconduct, maladministration or council governance. Many came after the 31-year-old’s lavish wedding in August 2015, which involved helicopter landings, a jet flyover and illegal road closures.
“It is to their discredit Auburn Council and Salim Mehajer hold the unenviable record of being a part of the most complainedabout NSW council in recent memory,” Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said.
“The NSW Government reforms, including a comprehensive Model Code of Conduct for councillors which is being finalised, will target dodgy behaviour and councillors who abuse their public office for personal or financial gain.”
The number of complaints in 2016-17 was 811, a 44 per cent reduction compared to the 1454 complaints the previous year.
This is despite the state government’s bungled amalgamation policy in 2016, which cut the number of councils from 150 to 120.
Central Coast Council was the most complained about council in 2016-17 with 32 complaints, followed by Georges River (30), Port Stephens (26), Northern Beaches (25) and Byron Shire (23).