Michael Pascoe
writes:

Frank Sartor has unpleasant business
awaiting his return from honeymoon – the curse of City Hall stalks the state
minister yet.

Sydney City Council has lost an
embarrassing court case over some dodgy contract letting. Sartor was the mayor
at the time when the council unfairly ditched the company providing its light
poles for another that just happened to be run by the son of Eddie Obeid –
former State minister, present MP, sometime Lebanese local election consultant
and always ALP powerbroker. It was Obeid and Joe Tripodi running the Terrigals
faction who handed the Premiership to Morrie Iemma.

As The SMHreports in part:

The then lord mayor, Frank Sartor
– now a state Labor minister – was reported in the Herald at the time as
saying orders had been placed with Goldspar for 300 poles but these had not
been delivered.

But in a written judgement handed
down yesterday, Federal Court Justice Roger Gyles said he was satisfied
“Goldspar was ready, willing and able to carry out the contract as at
March 2000” and there was “powerful evidence of subjective bad faith
on the part of the relevant council officers”. The council’s behaviour was
“extraordinary” and “menacing”.

The judge said evidence given by
Goldspar’s owner, Doug Rawson-Harris, suggested “collusion between Mr
Obeid (by then a minister in the NSW Government) and the City of Sydney to the disadvantage of Goldspar”.

There must be something about the
Sydney Lord Mayor’s job as the incumbent, State independent MP Clover Moore,
seems to be having an increasingly hard job as well. There’s a running saga in Sin
City
about Clover’s ability to lose CEOs in less than transparent circumstances,
never mind matters of style and juggling her state and city jobs.

The problems were nicely wrapped up in
Saturday’s SMH. Among the straight-shooting:

“She doesn’t have the
experience and the background to run a $350 million-a-year organisation,”
says Stephen Taylor, who heads the City Partnership group of 100 Sydney businesses.

“I think the fact that she’s
lost two CEOs in 18 months at great cost to the ratepayers is a sign of
ineptitude. She’s an excellent advocate for the underdog – superb – that’s her
specialty. [But] I don’t think she’s got what it takes to do the two
jobs.”

Anyone for the quiet life of Federal
politics?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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