Watching councillor expenses

FUTURE councillor expense claims of $500 or more will be determined by the general manager and the mayor after a vote at Tuesday night’s meeting of Shoalhaven City Council.

The motion was moved by Cr Greg Watson, who hoped it would reduce the politicisation of claims in council.

“At the moment there are two members of council staff who approve councillor claims,” Cr Watson said.

“If the claim gets to $500 or above policy says it should be referred to council.

“If you have a councillor who is off-side with the majority of councillors and they lodge a claim I think it is wrong for that to become an issue in the political forum.

“It should be based on policy.

“So rather than wasting councillors’ time I believe it should go to the general manager or the mayor,” Cr Watson said.

Shoalhaven City Council general manager Russ Pigg said it would mean he and the mayor would jointly sign off on claims.

“We will just look at the expenses to make sure they’re related to legitimate council business,” Mr Pigg said.

“Administration is going to view this is much simpler, and obviously the councillors are comfortable for us to vet those claims.”

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