Councillors’ spending under fire
THE expenses of two South Gippsland Shire councillors have come under question, with concerns ratepayers are being asked to wear the costs of their electioneering.
Councillors Andrew McEwen and Don Hill incurred travel reimbursements far above those of their colleagues from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.
Cr McEwen claimed travel reimbursements of $9021 and Cr Hill claimed $8340, for using their own cars for council business.
Cr Lorraine Brunt told council recently, “You can note a range in what it cost for individual councillors.
“I think we have had a few electioneering expenses in delivering newsletters and that is ratepayers’ money.”
Cr Hill has previously being criticised by his fellow councillors for using a council photocopier for printing the first edition of his so-called ward newsletter.
His printing and meeting sound recording transcripts expenses for the financial year were $1556, while Cr McEwen’s were $834.
Cr Hill said Cr Brunt’s accusations that he ran up his expenses bill by distributing my newsletters were “quite untrue and just another spurious attack on my reputation”.
“My second newsletter was printed in July and distributed through Australia post. All costs were paid for by me personally and have not been claimed or will be claimed against council,” Cr Hill said.
Mayor Cr Bob Newton and Cr Kieran Kennedy claimed $48 each, and Cr Brunt $5. No other councillors claimed this expense.
Other councillors use council cars and claimed travel expenses of: Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks, $5204; Cr Mohya Davies, $4918; Cr Kennedy, $4910; Cr Brunt, $4599; Cr Jeanette Harding, $4484; and Cr Newton, $4296.
No travel expenses were shown for Cr Jim Fawcett because as a personal choice, he does not claim private car use for council business, believing his councillor allowance covers that expense.
“Not claiming reimbursement is a small way of repaying the community for the faith they had in electing me to council,” he said.
“All councillors are entitled to claim a council car or reimbursement for their private car. My action should not be seen as judging others but just my personal choice.”
Cr McEwen did not respond to The Star’s request for comment.
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