Questions are being asked as to the Council's responsibility and right to supply alcohol to staff and guests. It certainly does not come under the umbrella of out of pocket expenses unless they mean "output of your pocket and into theirs" expenses.
The City Council is also liable for any accidents that might arise from staff who seek to over indulge in Christmas cheer sipping on free alcoholic drinks. Occupational Health and Safety might frown on such activities should a member of staff be injured or worst still injure someone else on the way home. Victoria Police are well advised to set up a booze bus near the Council car park exit
The free drinks LM booze bar should be closed down and if the Councillors and staff want a drink then they should visit a licensed bar outside of the Council and pay for their own drinks and not expect ratepayer's to pick up the tab.
The Sunday Herald Sun
LORD Mayor Robert Doyle has racked up a private bar bill of almost $10,000 in a single year.
Documents obtained through Freedom of Information reveal councillors and council staff spent $209,816 on food and alcohol in the 12 months to March this year.
The council's total alcohol bill was more than $44,245.
The cost of restocking the private bar in the Lord Mayor's office with beer, wine and spirits was $9652.66.
It included $1142 spent in March last year, $1163 last June and in October included six bottles of Bendigo shiraz at a cost of $144.
More ratepayer funds were used to buy a steady supply of chips and nuts for the office.
Councillors also have their own "refreshment room" where drinks are available free of charge.
Mr Doyle, who belted out a rousing rendition of Vanilla Ice rap track Ice Ice Baby at the council's Christmas party last week, defended the spending.
"The Lord Mayor's office hosts many civic functions for stakeholders, community groups, visitors and dignitaries as part of our official duties," he said.
"It is reasonable to provide food and beverage at these functions."
It seems Christmas cheer does not come cheap at the council either.
More than $20,000 was spent on a yuletide bash for staff last year.
Ratepayers also funded $625 for cocktails and $244.70 for drinks at an annual report "celebration".
More than $1300 was spent on food and drinks for a staff farewell.
And more than $2060 was spent on a dinner with Adelaide councillors.
Council chief Kathy Alexander recognised the council was funded by public money but also defended the food and alcohol spending spree.
"Councillors and administrative staff can incur reasonable expenses in the course of their work and are accountable for this spend within the annual budget," she said.
"The stock in the councillors' and directors' refreshment room is used for visiting dignitaries or meetings with relevant stakeholders.
"Councillors and senior administration staff regularly host meetings in their offices of both a formal and informal nature - and food and drink is sometimes served in these meetings."