The sacked councils and mayoral misadventures
lists are coming along very nicely with another 30 emails pouring in
yesterday, including several from readers arguing why their local
council should be sacked.

The most serious problem which seems to emerge in council deliberations
is straight out bribes from developers or the more subtle approach of
funding pro-development candidates.

Take Busselton Shire Council in the booming south west corner of WA. It is currently under investigation
after four councillors revealed they received $12,000 in donations from
the Independent Action Group which has employed former WA Premier Brian
Burke to lobby against extended retail trading hours and is also linked
to a $330 million beach front development.

The same issue emerged recently
in Geelong and we have also had a series of developer-backed candidates
on the Gold Coast and Tweed Shires. This issue is hardly new, but it
does raise questions about why the Howard Goverment has weakened
campaign disclosure laws such that you can now lawfully slip a
politician $10,000 without publicly disclosing.

Here are seven of the new entries on the councillor misadventures list:

Michael Crutchfield: Teacher, fire-fighter and one-time Mayor of Geelong,
who lost his cool with a stone-throwing kid on a quiet street in the mid-1990s
and punched him out.

George Droutsas:
The ALP mayor in the City of Whitehorse and Bracks government staffer was accused
of running dummy candidates in the 2005 election but was cleared of any
wrongdoing despite one candidate professing not to knowing they were running
until contacted by a local newspaper.

John Kenny: Charged
with having s-x with a 15-year-old whom he picked up on a chat line, but stayed
on Randwick City Council so his vote could be used to keep the Green/Liberal
coalition together.

Bill Ronald: The then councillor from Cardinia Shire Council in
Melbourne’s south was filmed
assaulting CEO Don Welsh last year and was then returned with an increased
majority and is now mayor.

Adam Spagnolo: The Stirling councillor in WA was found
of tampering with postal votes.

Natalie Suleyman: The
Brimbank Mayor in Melbourne’s West could not see the conflict of interest in
allowing her father’s community group to have a council building rent free for four
years, when all it was being used for was for members to play cards.

Kevin Walsh:
Greater Dandenong City Council reprimanded its then Mayor
after he admitted
to using the council’s computer network to visit s-xually explicit websites.

Keep them coming to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey