Friday, February 03, 2006

Singer's expensive travel bill

Deputy Lord Mayor spends up big on entertainment, overseas and interstate travel - Information revealed yesterday

Singer's $36,000 travel bill

Herald Sun by Jen Kelly 03feb06 (Printed in full below)

GARY Singer's globetrotting costs have been exposed in full with documents revealing $36,563 spent on junkets in only seven months.

The Deputy Lord Mayor enjoyed at least five jaunts from April to October last year.

Documents dumped on the City of Melbourne website last night also show ratepayers spent almost $400,000 for trips by councillors and staff in the year to December 1.

Cr Singer travelled to Milan, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Perth, Canberra and Sydney.
In all, Melbourne's nine councillors spent $85,611 on junkets from February to October last year. But the greatest costs to ratepayers were trips by staff and directors, hidden until last night, including:

A $16,029 11-day trip for a council worker to London, Paris, New York and Birmingham as part of a "global retail study tour".
A $21,827 15-day trip for a staff member for a trade alliance in the US and "study tour" in Ireland.
A $16,163 19-day trip to London and Ireland in June and a $14,709 seven-day trip to the Montreal World Swimming Championships in July for the marketing director.

Separate documents released this week reveal the nine councillors notched up $140,000 in expenses in the 13 months since their election -- with Cr Singer by far the biggest spender.

The part-time deputy cost ratepayers $42,000 in expenses including travel. The hefty bill does not include Cr Singer's $45,000 annual allowance.

Council critic Anthony van der Craats said Lord Mayor John So and Cr Singer were set to break the previous council's record as the most expensive and highly travelled councillors in the state.

"The Lord Mayor and his deputy have already spent in their first year more then half of what was spent during the full term of the previous council," he said.

Cr Singer last night defended the spending. "Councillors incur expenses in discharging their responsibilities and they are entitled to be reimbursed for these expenses," he said in a statement. "My objective is to work in the best interests of Melbourne."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cr Singers expenses listed in the Herald Sun article are just the tip of the ice-berg.

Melbourne City Council's internal accounting reports do not list or include cost associated with the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor's limousine.

Yes the very thing the City of Melbourne claims it want to ban from the City Centre and hypocrite Green Councillor Fraser Brindley's policy claimed they going to scrape. We agree with scraping the Limo's but Fraser has done nothing about it (No action on this one - he has been bought out with offers of trips to Africa and other exotic places - he even advocates holding illegal secret meetings of Council behind closed doors) Shame Frazer Shame

The cost of the Lord Mayors Limo is estimated to be over $150,000 (inc driver) per year and Gary Singers Deputy Lord Mayor's self drive Limo (est. at $50,000 per year)

In addition there is the undisclosed cost of internal catering, councillors support staff, parking, telephone costs made from town hall. The list goes on and on.

Our Part-Time DINO (Deputy In Name Only) costs in excess of $200,000 per year and the Lord Mayor John So much more then that (Est. at around $500,000 per year)

The amount of money the City of Melbourne spends on Staff and Councillors overseas and interstate travel in one year is equivalent to the value of an inner city apartment.

Its a disgrace.

To add insult to injury the City Council has spent 10's of thousands of dollars trying to avoid disclosure and public accountability of these costs.

Alyson Lyon, Legal Governance Officer, who recently resigned from the City Council, worked day and night to avoid the accountability and publication of this information.

It's disgraceful and the administration must be held accountable for the ongoing abuse and misuse of Council's resources.

There more

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