Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has said she is preparing for a period of suspension after being found guilty of dozens of serious breaches of the Local Government Act.
But Cr Scaffidi has continued to brush off calls from both sides of politics for her to stand down, saying she will cop the punishment and then get back to work.
It comes after the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) on Tuesday upheld 45 allegations that Cr Scaffidi failed to properly declare gifts and travel — leaving her facing a possible suspension.
The Lord Mayor said she was prepared to face a penalty.
“I will just have to cop that and hopefully we can move on from there and people will be satisfied that I’ve been adequately punished,” Cr Scaffidi said.
“There’s no question of my ability to undertake this position.
“I have proudly done so for 10 years and I have been elected three times.”
Cr Scaffidi has told Local Government Minister David Templeman she plans to remain Lord Mayor until she is forced out.
Under existing legislation, the State Government does not have the power to act against an individual in local government.
The only way the Minister can get rid of the Lord Mayor is by sacking the entire council.
Sacking council could take a year: Minister
Mr Templeman said that would be a lengthy and costly process.
“We would have to appoint commissioners, there is a cost to that. Ultimately it can be borne by the ratepayers themselves,” he said.
“It could take months if not over a year, and this has [already] gone [on] far too long.
“We all know — the community, both sides of politics — what needs to happen.
“But at the moment the legislation constrains us from getting that outcome if the incumbent decides to dig their heels in and not take the honourable action.”
Mr Templeman is now considering amending the Local Government Act to give the Government greater powers, should the issue arise again.
That move has received support from WA Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie, who said the entire sector had been tarnished by the travel saga.
“It’s disheartening for the whole sector to have to be dragged through this,” she said.
“We’re working with the Minister to try to do some revision of the Local Government Act.
“In lots of cases, it’s only one person that’s doing or acting inappropriately, and if they could be dealt with it would certainly save a lot of time.
“For the most part, most local government elected members of staff are trying to do their best and acting well within the law.”
However, Cr Scaffidi said the public commentary around her travel had been unfair, and she still had plenty of supporters.
“I’m elected to represent the citizens of the city of Perth and I know that I’ve got strong support there,” she said.
“It’s really up to an ethical media to give very fair coverage and the other side of the story and not to always go to the sensational lines.”