Monday, September 17, 2007

Moore's football attendance labelled a bad call

Clover Moore's decision to accept hundreds of dollars in corporate hospitality from a developer whilst Council is actively considering their major DA and their multi million dollar licensing agreement for Redfern Oval has highlighted just how hypocritical and out of touch the Lord Mayor has become after regularly condemning Councillors and other politicians for accepting (usually indirectly) any support from hotel interests or developers.

This issue has nothing to do with Souths and everything to do with a Lord Mayor over stretched doing two jobs, surrounded by dozens of well paid advisors, hiding behind media spokespersons and splurging $8 million of rate payer's money on an unprecedented communications budget.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald coverage is below:

Moore's football attendance labelled a bad call

Jano Gibson Urban
Affairs Reporter Sydney Morning Herald
page 3 September 17, 2007

WHEN the City of Sydney votes tonight on a new licence agreement with the South
Sydney Rabbitohs, there will be a notable absence in the chamber.The Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, will excuse herself because she accepted corporate box tickets from Souths to one of their games at Telstra Stadium at the beginning of the month.
Her decision to accept the invitation has been labelled "pretty poor judgment" by Shayne Mallard, who decided not to attend the game when he realised there could be a perception of a conflict of interest if he did so.
Cr Mallard said a number of other councillors had also chosen not to accept the invitation after receiving an email from the council's chief executive, Monica Barone, two days before the game explaining that "we are currently assessing a DA for the leagues club and preparing a licence agreement with the football club".
Cr Moore informed the council of her decision to remove herself from discussions on the licence agreement at a finance, properties and tenders committee meeting last Monday. "On Saturday, 1st September, I attended the Rabbitohs game at the invitation of Peter Holmes a Court," she told the council.
"At the time I accepted the invitation I was not aware that the licence agreement was coming up. I very rarely accept invitations like this and on this occasion I only did so at short notice because my plans had changed.
"I don't think this constitutes a pecuniary interest, but I'd rather err on the side of caution. To ensure there is no perception of any conflict of interest I will leave the council chamber and not participate in this discussion or decision."
She had also sought to reimburse Souths for their hospitality, she said.
But Cr Mallard said he was shocked by her decision to attend the event.
"I flagged it. I emailed the CEO, asked the question and [Ms Barone] emailed all the councillors saying, 'This is the situation', but not advising us. Everyone pulled out except for her. I just think it's pretty poor judgment on the part of the Lord Mayor."
He said it could mean Cr Moore has to excuse herself from future discussions and votes on the development application from the leagues club.
Cr Mallard said he did not think Cr Moore's decision not to take part in tonight's vote on the licence agreement would affect the outcome of the vote.
The proposed licence agreement would allow the Rabbitohs to use Redfern Oval and its associated facilities for training purposes and up to eight pre-season or exhibition
A spokesman for the Lord Mayor said: "Like all councillors, each individual makes conflict of interest decisions on each item discussed. It was probably overkill, but Clover preferred to err on the side of caution and will again on Monday."

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