Suspension handed to Scaffidi
UPDATE 07/09: Ms Scaffidi has won the right to appeal her suspension, placing it on hold for now. However, she has agreed not the carry out the legal functions of her office during the proceedings. Calls for her to resign continue to mount.
ORIGINAL 04/09: Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has hit a new low in her dramatic fall from grace.
Scaffidi’s long-running scandal over undeclared gifts has come to a head, with the State Administrative Tribunal announcing on Monday that she is banned from holding office for 18 months.
The Tribunal declared her claims of remorse over undeclared gifts as nothing more than “empty words”.
The Lord Mayor failed to mentions a $US36,826 trip to the Beijing Olympics in accommodation valued at $US6000 a night, courtesy of BHP.
That was just one of her 45 breaches of Western Australia’s Local Government Act, including business-class flights, a weekend at the Broome Cup and a Chris Isaak concert at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River.
The scandal has exposed severe in-fighting and divisions at the City of Perth.
The tribunal’s near-unprecedented penalty was issued partly because she had “failed to understand the gravity of her conduct”.
“She sees it as an error of paperwork,” it said.
“In four instances, Ms Scaffidi expressly solicited gifts and contributions to travel (by, for example, requesting business-class airfares and accommodation in five-star hotels as a condition of attending functions) so she should have been acutely aware that she had been provided with them.”
Ms Scaffidi has fought hard in her legal battle to keep her job, and currently remains Lord Mayor due to having applied for a stay until an appeal of her 18-month suspension can be heard.
She still has an open appeal against the tribunal’s original finding of serious breaches back in May.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has urged her to resign, and says he will create new legislation that will allow him to sack her himself if she does not.
Deputy Mayor James Limnios is expected to step up into the role in the wake of the Tribunal’s decision.