Third of Canning Council don’t live there?

Third of Council doesn't live where they should NO 2

Clarification on fourth councillor, Patrick Hall, Bannister Ward, not residing in representative area.
Thank you to Patrick for immediately addressing concerns he lives [just] outside Bannister now, after  years of residence within, a move which only occurred in 2014, the year before the election.  The Hall family is on track to move back to Bannister Ward this year.

Update:  Nicholson’s apparently non-resident Councillor, Tim Porter, just doesn’t wanna do what he doesn’t feel he has to – nos. of “Not Read” responses on emails sent by myself as community member mounting up.  That’s just lazy, son.

I think it’s questionable if people seek to get on to the council, or represent the residents, of an area they don’t actually live in.  It raises all sorts of concerns:

  • by what measure can they claim to know the people or the area?
  • how can they convince ratepayers they care if they don’t care to live there?
  • what were the motivations, then, for nominating?

Everyone’s heard the one about a former Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Perth only needing a PO Box in the area to qualify for office…. but Canning’s been through a lot and accountability and transparency are more important than ever.

Rumours have circulated for months that three of our councillors don’t live in the wards they represent by some margin:  Jesse Jacobs (Mason) and Margaret Hall and Tim Porter (Nicholson) – and that Jacobs may reside in Vic Park, where his brother recently bid for and won a councillor position.

So I emailed them and asked (1) do you live within the ward you represent? and (2) if not, do you intend to move to that ward?  It seems reasonable to ask – they will earn over 120K in a four-year term, a quarter million for two terms.  Porter has a two-year term, but that’s still a lot of moving money.

Jesse Jacobs and Tim Porter declined to answer.  Ms Hall responded with everything but what I’d asked.

To Margaret Hall’s credit, she tried for council four times as both Mayor and councillor, always Mason Ward, before bidding again – for both positions – in 2015.  Ms Hall is believed to have put in for Mason, later changing her candidacy to far away Nicholson, which recorded the second lowest number of candidates, in what was her final bid to get elected.

There was a Tim Porter who nominated for the 2013 Shire of Kalamunda election – if its our Tim, he seems drawn to Councils that have come under scrutiny!  I’ve seen nothing to indicate why he chose Nicholson to represent over the ward he is believed to live in, however.

As for Jesse Jacobs, no-one could doubt his desire to elevate to council.  The word is he spent upwards of 100K on a Mayoral campaign – certainly his advertising would suggest this.

To be on the safe side Jacobs and Porter also nominated for both Mayor and councillor roles.

However, councillors are not politicians, who often don’t live in their electorates.  They are not board members of a corporation, although expected to come together strategically for the benefit of the City as a whole (despite assumptions, the previous council often voted together).  First and foremost they are the personal representatives of each of Canning’s five wards.

They vote on millions of dollars of benefits, and who gets what and where.

Is it a good enough alternative to point out what one has done for people in the area (from where?  over there?  where’s my binoculars?), if you don’t live there, don’t plan to live there – and especially as new councillors earn four times the money to represent us?

The creation of a second councillor position for Nicholson Ward was gotten through as part of what was described as a “forced” review of wards and councillor representations, before a democratically elected council was allowed to return to Canning a few months later.  Six hundred rose up to protest this formally, and Canning’s most experienced Commissioner, Stephanie (Steve) Smith was not prepared to vote for it in its original form, but it went through anyway.

Poor old Nicholson Ward!  An extra rep today, but none who live there!

Reference for Ward depiction: