City defends payment to councillor’s business

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
The payment was made for the delivery of media services, mainly promotional videos through Firey Production’s “Entertain Me Bunbury” campaign.
Camera IconThe payment was made for the delivery of media services, mainly promotional videos through Firey Production’s “Entertain Me Bunbury” campaign. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

Deputy Mayor Jaysen Miguel has defended an $11,000 payment to a councillor’s business for services to the City of Bunbury after questions were raised last week.

Cr Brendan Kelly used Bunbury City Council’s briefing session to allude to a payment made to fellow councillor James Hayward’s business, Firey Productions.

Cr Kelly raised questions during discussion about a review of the council’s purchasing policy.

While the payment was made in December and is listed on the council’s schedule of accounts paid, it appears some councillors only discovered the transaction this month.

Cr Miguel told the Bunbury Herald that the payment was “all above board” and the council did not want to discourage councillors or city staff from offering services.

“The city contracted Fireys to do work after following the purchasing policy, which is currently in place and has a number of guidelines to follow including getting a number of quotes,” Cr Miguel said.

“They did go to other agencies who offer the same service and ask them for quotes, none of them actually provided any other quotes so Firey’s were approved for that work.

“It followed every bit of policy procedure it needed to, it followed every bit of guideline it needed to.”

But Cr Kelly has questioned the process and who approached who for the payment.

“I haven’t seen any evidence that the procurement process followed best practice,” Cr Kelly told the Herald.

“None of us have any objection to elected members who run businesses doing business with council, it just has to be transparent, accountable and open.”

The payment was made for the delivery of media services, mainly promotional videos through Firey Production’s “Entertain Me Bunbury” campaign.

Cr Hayward said there was nothing unusual about the payment and if there were questions about it, the person raising them should “front up” and take it to the Corruption and Crime Commission.

“If there are any allegations of any misconduct, it should be made and it should be made to the people who investigate it, which is the CCC,” Cr Hayward said.

“Ultimately, Brendan or anyone else who believes there is any question mark over this transaction or any other one they should front up and take it to the CCC.

“What they shouldn’t do, is to use Chinese whispers or try to drop it in code at council meetings.”

The council is tonight expected to consider an amendment to its purchasing policy which would see any payments to councillors or staff either specially marked or reported to the council in “real time”.

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