Shire of Capel dismisses councillor David Clews after failing to attend multiple council meetings

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenSouth Western Times
David Clews has been disqualified as a Capel Shire councillor for not attending three consequtive council meetings.
Camera IconDavid Clews has been disqualified as a Capel Shire councillor for not attending three consequtive council meetings. Credit: Shire of Capel/Facebook

The Capel Shire Council has dismissed one of its councillors after triggering a local government law that requires immediate dismissal.

Capel chief executive Gordon MacMile issued the now former councillor David Clews with a notice of dismissal for failing to attend several council meetings.

Under the Local Government Act, if elected members skip three council meetings in a row without being granted a leave of absence they are automatically disqualified from holding office.

Mr Clews was issued the notice after failing to attend ordinary council meetings on December 21, January 25 and February 22.

The disqualification was effective immediately, meaning he is unable to represent himself or the Shire as a councillor unless he can demonstrate he is qualified or has it declared as such by the State Administrative Tribunal.

The South Western Times approached Mr Clews for comment, but he declined.

Capel Shire president Doug Kitchen thanked Mr Clews for his service to the council since he was elected in 2019.

“He was recently the chair of our climate change committee and was very passionate about it,” Cr Kitchen said.

“We wish him all the best with the future.”

The council will consider its options when it comes to the vacancy at this month’s council meeting after it has received advice.

The two choices the Shire will have are an extraordinary election, which Mr Kitchen described as costing “around the same” as an ordinary council election, or to apply to Local Government Minister John Carey to keep Mr Clews’ vacancy open until the next poll in October.

There have been a number of elected members depart South West councils in recent weeks, with the Shire of Dardanup’s Janice Dow handing in her resignation last month and City of Bunbury councillor Kris Plumb stepping down in January.

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