Ballina councillor wades into Tweed expenses row

Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson.

Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson.

A Ballina shire councillor has gone into bat for Tweed mayor Katie Milne who has been dumped from her role overseeing and approving monthly expenses after a row with fellow councillors.

The Echonetdaily reported yesterday that The Greens mayor has been controversially stripped of her role by her political rivals in approving their claims in what’s seen as a ‘pay back’ late change of council rules.

Tweed Cr Katie Milne. Photo Luis Feliu

Tweed Cr Katie Milne. Photo Luis Feliu

Cr Milne had raised the ire of fellow conservative councillors for asking for details about costs associated with meeting with developers on-site, and also resisted moves to allow $250 a month for phone and internet.

Ballina’s Cr Jeff Johnson described the move to oust Cr Milne as a disgrace.

‘What a disgrace that some Tweed councillors feel that they need $250 per month from ratepayers to pay for their business phone accounts?

‘In Ballina we are allowed to claim up to $80 per month for phone/internet expenses (by providing evidence of expenses) which is reasonable.

‘Personally speaking, my unlimited mobile phone plan is $80 per month and my home internet plan is also $80 per month. Being able to claim half of these expensesis fair enough in my opinion.

Cr Johnson also raised concerns about councillors claiming expenses for visits to development sites without providing details.

‘That sounds dodgy as! ‘

‘Why aren’t the councillors in question prepared to say who they have been meeting with and what was discussed?

‘For Ballina shire councillors the official policy is that we are not allowed to meet with developers unless there is a staff member present, and preferably, the meetings should take place at the council chambers with more than one councillor present. Again, a reasonable policy.

‘Congratulations to Tweed mayor Katie Milne for trying to make councillors more accountable, which can only lead to more respect and confidence in the decision making process of our locally-elected officials.’

2 responses to “Ballina councillor wades into Tweed expenses row”

  1. Menkit Prince says:

    Wonderful support from Jeff Johnson! It’s truly time to clean up Tweed shire council and Katie has taken on an onerous task. Let’s hope residents choose better candidates than ‘the dodgy four’ at the next council elections.

  2. Dianne says:

    Shame Tweed Council! Jeff Johnson is right on the mark, accountability is absolutely required.

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