Exmouth council disbanded following resignations

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Four Shire of Exmouth councillors have resigned from their positions this week.
Camera IconFour Shire of Exmouth councillors have resigned from their positions this week. Credit: Pilbara News, Tom Zaunmayr

The entire former Shire of Exmouth council will be disbanded after the majority of councillors resigned this week following a meeting with the Local Government Minister.

Shire of Exmouth councillors were suspended for six months in early January by then Local Government Minister Paul Miles in the wake of a Corruption and Crime Commission investigation into claims of misconduct at the Shire, and were scheduled to undergo governance training with the possibility of being re-instated soon after.

However following a meeting with Local Government Minister David Templeman on Monday, four out of the five suspended Shire councillors instead have tendered their resignation over the past few days.

The whole council will now be disbanded in exercise of the Local Government Minister’s legislative powers.

Mr Templeman said he welcomed the resignations as a step which would allow the Shire to move forward after the CCC inquiry.

“On 29 May, I had a very productive meeting with the existing councillors at the Shire of Exmouth in which I expressed my concerns about how they could go about restoring confidence in the community they were elected to serve,” he said.

“I appreciated that they recognised, for the benefit of their town, that we needed to move forward.”

“I have today received welcome advice that four councillors have tendered their resignations.”

“I would like to thank them for putting the best interests of the Exmouth community first and believe this is a significant step in restoring the confidence of the Shire’s residents and ratepayers.“

Mr Templeman said he would request Shire of Exmouth interim commissioner Ian Fletcher, who was appointed to govern in the councillors’ place during their suspension, to continue on in the role until local government elections in October this year.

In a statement this week, a Shire of Exmouth spokeswoman said they would be working with the WA Local Government Association to ensure future good governance by providing election candidates with education and training.

Mr Fletcher encouraged community members to consider nominating for council positions at the October elections.

“Exmouth has a very bright future and this is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in making a substantive contribution to the local community to get involved,” he said.

The CCC investigation has had wide-ranging consequences for the Shire of Exmouth, including the dismissal of former Shire chief executive Bill Price and former strategic projects officer Andrew Forte late last year.

Former councillor Bob Todd previously resigned on November 24, 2016.

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