Sunday, May 22, 2011

I agree that MP should not serve on local councils at the same time. There is a clear potential of a conflict of interest. However do remember if the councilor resigns there would have to be another election to fill that vacancy. Perhaps they should be told they would not be allowed to stand for the following council election.

ALMOST a third of Barry O'Farrell's Liberal MPs are moonlighting in second jobs as mayors and councillors.

Despite earning at least $136,000 a year- with cars, offices, phones and staff paid for by the taxpayer - the state Liberal partyroom is stacked with MPs who refuse to give up their paid jobs on local councils.

The loophole that allows MPs to serve on local councils - supplementing their income by up to $100,000 a year -- even after they are elected to state parliament means thousands of Sydneysiders are paying twice for double-dipping politicians.

It also exposes the Government MPs to accusations of conflict of interest and has led to demands that they quit their local jobs.

The Premier - who enjoys one of the largest margins in state political history - has refused to confront the issue, and declined to comment on the conflict of interest claims.

However, one of his new MPs - Camden Mayor Chris Patterson - admitted representing ratepayers and taxpayers at the local and state level was too much.
"I'm personally finding that doing both roles is a lot of work and I will be giving it up for someone else to do," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

A day earlier, Mr Patterson said being a local mayor and state MP was great, as he could attend functions in both capacities."I've been very busy but it seems to be working so far," he said.
Mr Patterson didn't explain his change of heart, but the Premier's office was aware of the move to resign as mayor on June 14.

Political experts insist the MPs must give up the second job. Institute of Public Affairs spokesman Ted Lapkin - a former Liberal adviser - said the MPs should have resigned from council as soon as they were elected to parliament on March 26.

"There is a clear potential for conflict of interest. It smacks of impropriety," he said. "Are they going to excuse themselves from every vote in the parliament if it concerns the business of the local council?

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