If the Mayor of the City of Canning, Patrick Hall, doesn’t want a fat increase in his clothing allowance – a perk discontinued by many councils – he was far from convincing about it on radio 6PR today. In fact, in one year, Mr Hall has become the most expensive mayor to maintain of Canning’s last three. And that was after declaring he was “drawing a line in the sand on councillor expenses” before he became Mayor.
The Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, and 6PR listeners duke it out below:
Tonight, however, if Canning’s council votes it through, the Emperor’s new clothing allowance will treble. The Deputy Mayor will get a big increase, and rank and file councillor clothes’ racks may double in size. Not all Canning’s elected members claim the allowance, of course, but Mr Hall has already claimed nearly $1000 worth in his first four year term, and interestingly enough male councillors make more clothing claims than women.
However, not even new Lord Mayor, Basil Zempilas, gets a clothing allowance now – its been shut down so as “to be more in line with community expectations”. So where is the bid for all this extra money to spend on attire coming from?
Mr Hall repeatedly indicated on 6PR that staff put this bid forward, but, in an unusual move, the staff moved to upload various notes made by the Mayor’s own hand, ostensibly relating to travel expenses, as part of the official record put forward to council.
Mr Hall indicated, at the Agenda Briefing of 13 October 2020, that he was surprised that had been released – but whilst the Mayor – a man nearing 60 and with no children left at home – was also making a song and dance about the overall low use of child care allowances by younger councillors, he seemed to have little problem with his clothing allowance zooming from $600 in the first year to $2000, and $750 a year thereafter for the extent of his four year term, up from $300.
Which end of the local government spectrum actually nominated the new, higher clothing allowances remains far from clear.
Deputy Mayor, Jesse Jacobs, who was interviewed straight after Mr Hall, is having none of this – pointing out, economically, this is not the time to jack up clothing allowances: “It’s all about perceptions, we’ve tried to freeze rates, tighten our belts. We want to look after our residents first”. Mr Jacobs, in fact, is willing to give up these sorts of payments today, as surrounding Tier 1 councils already have.
The Mayor of Canning is paid $47,515 sitting fees (meeting attendance) and $89,753 (personal allowance) annually. His fortnightly pay is $5414. I’m pretty sure he has a lot of suits as it is, and can afford to pay for an extra jacket or two if needs be.