Perth Mayor Suspended For Seven Months
Perth's lord mayor will be suspended for seven months over her gifts disclosure scandal, a tribunal ruled, after the state argued for her disqualification.
The State Administrative Tribunal has rejected calls to disqualify Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi from holding office over undeclared travel and accommodation gifts.
Scaffidi returned to work in January following a four-month absence, having successfully challenged her 18-month disqualification for failing to disclose the third party-funded gifts.
The SAT had found she breached the Local Government Act 45 times but the WA Court of Appeal overturned 26 adverse findings, leaving 19 breaches for which she had to be re-penalised.
The SAT handed down its decision late on Tuesday, rejecting the state's case that she should be disqualified from holding office and instead suspending her for seven months, starting on Friday.
"Unless the state chooses to appeal the tribunal's decision, I am happy to say that the matter is now at an end," Scaffidi said on social media on Wednesday.
"Throughout this process I have been subjected to considerable public pressure, particularly from the premier and the minister, to resign (and thereby abandon my pursuit of my democratic right to have the matter dealt with in accordance with the law).
"Yesterday's decision, and particularly the tribunal's findings, completely vindicate my refusal to buckle to that pressure."
Premier Mark McGowan said the state government would seek legal advice about whether to appeal.
The entire council - including Scaffidi - was suspended indefinitely in March pending an inquiry into whether it should be sacked following infighting and reports of a toxic culture across the organisation.
It came to a head when the chief executive went on stress leave and his replacement did the same the following week.
"I have had enough of the finger being pointed at me as the sole cause of the problem," Scaffidi said at the time.
The council is currently being run by three government-appointed commissioners.
Legislation giving the WA government power to suspend or dismiss an elected councillor was introduced to parliament earlier this year.