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Outrage over ratepayers slugged for councillors’ legal advice

Councillor Nathan Hagarty has warned Liverpool ratepayers may soon have to cover individual councillors’ personal tax bills.

The Labor leader on council says that could be the result of Mayor Ned Mannoun’s so called Leading in Good Government Practices motion.

Tabled at last week’s council meeting, the motion pushes for a broad policy on individual councillors seeking “professional advice”.

The motion went against the recommendations of council officers, the Office of Local Government and Local Government NSW.

Councillor Hagarty says the proposal is a waste of resources and also potentially open to abuse.

“This proposal, against the recommendations of council officials, LGNSW, and the NSW government’s own Office of Local Government, is simply a waste of council’s limited resources,” Councillor Hagarty said.

“It has the potential to slug local ratepayers thousands with the cost of individual councillors’ legal bills, as well as being ripe for abuse.

“Our roads are in the worst condition they’ve ever been in, but instead of getting potholes fixed, the mayor and councillors are more worried about who’s covering their personal expenses.”

The Office of Local Government advised against ratepayers being slugged for individual councillors’ advice on the grounds that “councillors don’t exercise their functions as individuals, they exercise their functions as a collective governing body’’.

“No other council in NSW has a policy like this,’’ says Cr Hagarty.

“It’s too open ended, and open to abuse.

“If the mayor and councillors want individual legal advice, they can follow current protocols and use their individual funds,” he said.

The vote was supported 6 to 5, with deputy mayor Rhodes and Liberal councillors Ammoun, Goodman, Hadid and Macnaught voting with the mayor.

The move follows an earlier, near identically worded motion raised by Councillor Tina Ayyad, Mayor Mannoun’s wife, during the previous term of council in November 2020.

2 Responses to Outrage over ratepayers slugged for councillors’ legal advice

  1. Ned Mannoun August 2, 2022 at 10:11 am #

    Hi Eric

    It’s seems Clr Hagarty may have not communicated the whole motion.

    The motion was to create a policy on how councillors can seek independent advice when they are potentially provided with not accurate advice. It has nothing to do with personal tax advice.

    For example, if this policy was in place YADA would not have been taken to court.

    Also it may have prevented Councillors in the last term making decisions that led to them to make Liverpool the most indebted council that was heading towards administration (again). Thankfully we have saved this from happening

    If you ever want the other side of the story feel free to contact me directly

  2. Cllr Peter Harle August 2, 2022 at 6:41 pm #

    Hi Eric,
    The Mayors’ reply is typically politically motivated diatribe, especially about Councils finances, Liverpool City Council has a deficit of around -$11M at the end of 2021, Four bordering Councils have far greater deficits than Liverpool. If Liverpool was to be in Administration, then Blacktown -$16.8M, Penrith -$19.8M Camden -$26.8M and Canterbury-Bankstown -$32.8M would also be in administration. The previous Council was already taking action to prevent that debt rising.
    The point is that Covid 19 badly affected every Council in Australia. It’s also worth mentioning that during the 2012-2016 term when Ned was Mayor and had an overall majority in Council, it had accumulated a deficit of -$8M in mid term and another -$2.1M at the end of his term and passing that debt onto the New Council of 2017 and, there were no Covid related issues to blame it on!
    The only bordering Councils currently (December 2021) not in deficit were Fairfield +$5.9M, Parramatta +$4.1M and Campbelltown at +$2.7M. Information available on Councils Website here: http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2022/05/CO_20220525_MAT_457.PDF

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