Councillors off to China on a junket

Melbourne City Councilors Ken Ong (Liberal) and Richard Foster (ALP) are both off to China in ongoing rounds of overseas Junkets, although Richard Foster, who was elected with the support of RESIDENTS FIRST:STOP THE RATES RIP-OFF!, claims the China Trip is not a Junket.Foster’s name was kept secrete from teh original report which listed Cr Ong plus one other City Council. It is unkown if the other was a draw from the hat but the City of Melbourne needed to bring Richard Foster under the spell and umbrella of junkets and overseas in-house trips rewards system.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle who  recently traveled to London on a $10,000 junket to discuss Policing in Capital Cities (Unlike London Melbourne has no role in policing which is the responsibility of State Government) is off to New York later this month on what is widely seen as another junket and breach of the Lord Mayor’s previous electon undertaking to not go on a junket.

Free from this obligation, Robert Doyle claims that the No junkets policy was made in the previous election and does not apply to his election in 2012, Robert Doyle’s of the view that he has earned the right to travel around the world at Councils expense.

If it looks like a junket, sounds like a junket

It is a Junket

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is off to London to give a 45 minute “Keynote Speech” at the inaugural  Policing Global Cities Conference on July 9. Robert Doyle is one of a number of City Mayors invited to mingle with Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who opens the conference on the day before

International conferences are big business and there are a number of organisations popping-up offering a variety of events at exotic international locations for every sector.

Robert Doyle, who had previously campaigned on a “No junket” platform, has abandoned his promise yet again and has sought rate payer funding to attend the two day event costing over $15,000.  The costs are partly funded by the City of London event organisers who are making a contribution to Robert Doyle’s airfare travel ($4,700) and providing free accommodation. The City of Melbourne picking up the remaining costs.

Last night the City Council approved the allocation of an additional $6,000 towards the cost of Robert Doyle’s airfare plus $1,720 for an additional two days accommodation  and a further $1,800 expenses and incidentals.

The proposed overseas travel was approved by all Councillors including the Lord Mayor and the Deputy Lord Mayor except Councillor Jackie Watts who rightly questioned the value of the trip to the City.

No doubt those Councillors who approved the junket are expecting they too will be given an all expenses overseas paid holiday to “represent the City” Greens Councillor Cathy Oak regularly travels to an ICLEI Conferences twice a year and managed to talk the City Council to fund the costs associated with ICLEI 3rd party executive costs. (Will Greens Cr Rohan Leppert apply to attend a Global Occupy protest event in New York or London in the not too distant future)

In accordance with the City of Melbourne “Staff and Councillors travel policy” the Lord Mayor CEO and Directors may travel Business Class

A quick look at the going price for an airfare from Melbourne to London  on July 5 shows the list price of travel to cost up to  $12,000 with China Southern Airways and Singapore Airways being the cheapest at $7462 and $8879 respectively.  The cost of economy travel is less than $2000.  Looks like the Melbourne City Council approved Travel agent is making a hefty profit on the deal.

The costs even cheaper had the City of Melbourne booked the flight earlier.  Robert Doyle has known about the planed trip as far back as February this year and had only just decided to seek Council approval at the least minute

The City of Melbourne “you scratch my back”  travel opportunities, with an international travel bill exceeding 1 milllion dollars a year, is the envy of all Victorian Local Governments

The City ratepayers also pick up the tab for inbound travel of those invitees invited to visit Melbourne. Reverse hospitality. Strangely, but not unexpected, the City of Melbourne keeps the names of inbound travel recipients a secret in its published travel register for fear of someone joing the dots.

The Greater City of London covers a much larger population and area of administration. It also has its own police force (affectionately referred to as Bobbies). Melbourne on the pother hand is much smaller a few square Kms,the size of a British borough, concentrated on the City Centre. Melbourne City Council has no policing powers other then small fleet of by-laws officers and fleet of security guards. Policing in Melbourne is the responsibility of the State Government not the City of Melbourne

Junkets Away: Councillors Overseas Travel

Five months late the City of Melbourne has finally published it’s Overseas and Interstate Travel costs for the term of the previous Council (Dec-2008 to Nov-2012)

Topping the bill of the most travelled Councillors is the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

Interstate and Overseas Travel – Total
Councillor Cost
Robert Doyle $55,254.80
Peter Clarke $50,736.55
Susan Riley $27,084.08
Brian Shanahan $25,010.37
Kevin Louey $22,715.35
Cathy Oke $15,917.67
Ken Ong $12,829.19
Carl Jetter $3,956.08
Rob Adams $2,670.60
Jennifer Kanis $40.27

Councillors cut expense costs but not expenditure

Melbourne newly elected City Council has acted quick to cut expense costs associated with Councillor expenses according to the Councillor Expense Statements published last week.

In a very cynical move the City Council has decided the best way to cut expenses is to not publish them.

Missing from the new published Councillor expense statements are costs associated with Interstate and Overseas Travel, Conferences and other junket revenue expenditure removed from the statements.

Councillor Carl “Jet set” Jetter is still charging the City Council in excess of $2,000 a quarter for local travel with over $1,000 in communication costs. Kevin Louey has over $1,400 (4.5 times the cost of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor) in phone bills. Whilst Brian Shanahan has rung up close to $1,000 on Conferences and Training.

The Cost of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Limo expenses have been listed at $3,691 and $3,968 respectively. This does not include the full costs of the purchase, maintenance and chauffer which remain undisclosed. The City Council policy of non disclosure and deceit continues unabated.

Staff have not curbed their last for the Leather on Aeroplanes. They have rung up over 3 Months increases of $58,000 with Scott Chapman close to $24,000 for a 13 day world site seeing trip to Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, with a stopover in Auckland between the 20th of March to the 4th of April this year. This expense is on top of his six figure salary of course.

12 members of staff had their expenses picked op by an undisclosed source begging the question how much does the City Council fork out in kind.

Councillors cut expense costs but not expenditure

Melbourne newly elected City Council has acted quick to cut expense costs associated with Councillor expenses according to the Councillor Expense Statements published last week.

In a very cynical move the City Council has decided the best way to cut expenses is to not publish them.

Missing from the new published Councillor expense statements are costs associated with Interstate and Overseas Travel, Conferences and other junket revenue expenditure removed from the statements.

Councillor Carl “Jet set” Jetter is still charging the City Council in excess of $2,000 a quarter for local travel with over $1,000 in communication costs. Kevin Louey has over $1,400 (4.5 times the cost of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor) in phone bills. Whilst Brian Shanahan has rung up close to $1,000 on Conferences and Training.

The Cost of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Limo expenses have been listed at $3,691 and $3,968 respectively. This does not include the full costs of the purchase, maintenance and chauffer which remain undisclosed. The City Council policy of non disclosure and deceit continues unabated.

Staff have not curbed their last for the Leather on Aeroplanes. They have rung up over 3 Months increases of $58,000 with Scott Chapman close to $24,000 for a 13 day world site seeing trip to Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, with a stopover in Auckland between the 20th of March to the 4th of April this year. This expense is on top of his six figure salary of course.

12 members of staff had their expenses picked op by an undisclosed source begging the question how much does the City Council fork out in kind.

Councillors cut expense costs but not expenditure

Melbourne newly elected City Council has acted quick to cut expense costs associated with Councillor expenses according to the Councillor Expense Statements published last week.

In a very cynical move the City Council has decided the best way to cut expenses is to not publish them.

Missing from the new published Councillor expense statements are costs associated with Interstate and Overseas Travel, Conferences and other junket revenue expenditure removed from the statements.

Councillor Carl “Jet set” Jetter is still charging the City Council in excess of $2,000 a quarter for local travel with over $1,000 in communication costs. Kevin Louey has over $1,400 (4.5 times the cost of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor) in phone bills. Whilst Brian Shanahan has rung up close to $1,000 on Conferences and Training.

The Cost of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Limo expenses have been listed at $3,691 and $3,968 respectively. This does not include the full costs of the purchase, maintenance and chauffer which remain undisclosed. The City Council policy of non disclosure and deceit continues unabated.

Staff have not curbed their last for the Leather on Aeroplanes. They have rung up over 3 Months increases of $58,000 with Scott Chapman close to $24,000 for a 13 day world site seeing trip to Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, with a stopover in Auckland between the 20th of March to the 4th of April this year. This expense is on top of his six figure salary of course.

12 members of staff had their expenses picked op by an undisclosed source begging the question how much does the City Council fork out in kind.

Vexing Question Melbourne City Councillor Cathy Oke’s Overseas travel allowance

greedygreens

Recently elected Melbourne City councillor Cathy Oke has wasted no time shoving her snout into the travel trough, with reports on Nine News and in News Limited publications about a series of trips she has planned at ratepayers’ expense that will cost $33,000.

VEXNEWS invited the councillor to explain herself to a disgusted public and it appears she has been struck dumb. We (VEXNEWS)wrote to her:

cathyokedumbass

I refer to media reports that you are embarking on ratepayer funded $33,000 travel to various overseas destinations. We (vexnews) propose to do a follow-up story that explores the issues in detail.

The $33,000 bill contrasts starkly with a previous Greens party Melbourne councillor David Risstrom who travelled extensively on council business but managed to spend very little money indeed, other than on airfares. He appeared to stay at backpacker style hostels and`to eat very parsimoniously indeed. We fear he consumed a vegan variety of seeds and berries.

This meant he was very hard to criticise for travelling at ratepayer expense, except of course by those conscious – as you no doubt are – of one’s carbon footprint. What measures will you be taking to deal with the carbon consequences of these very long trips? And why are you proposing to travel so regally by comparison to your own party’s predecessors? Could you please provide us with a breakdown of how you propose to spend $33,000 on these trips? And also what is the length of the trips? With airfares as they currently are, the quantum outlined in that article seems to be almost impossible unless you are living very large indeed.

What do you say to those who believe that three different trips in such a short time is excessive? What will you be doing on such trips to justify the large expense? How are they not in breach of the Lord Mayor’s ban on junkets?

Given that you say you work as an environmental consultant, how do you respond to suggestions you might be getting ratepayers to pay for travel that could be advantageous to your business?

The Herald Sun said that you would be travelling with a member of staff. Is it envisaged that you would be sharing accommodation with that person? If not, why not?

Please feel free to contact us on the mobile 0415 99 33 26 or by return email editor[at] vexnews.comin time for our deadline of 9am
tomorrow. If you fail to respond, we will note that in the customary way.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Landeryou
Editor-in-Chief
VEXNEWS


Vexing Question Melbourne City Councillor Cathy Oke’s Overseas travel allowance

greedygreens

Recently elected Melbourne City councillor Cathy Oke has wasted no time shoving her snout into the travel trough, with reports on Nine News and in News Limited publications about a series of trips she has planned at ratepayers’ expense that will cost $33,000.

VEXNEWS invited the councillor to explain herself to a disgusted public and it appears she has been struck dumb. We (VEXNEWS)wrote to her:

cathyokedumbass

I refer to media reports that you are embarking on ratepayer funded $33,000 travel to various overseas destinations. We (vexnews) propose to do a follow-up story that explores the issues in detail.

The $33,000 bill contrasts starkly with a previous Greens party Melbourne councillor David Risstrom who travelled extensively on council business but managed to spend very little money indeed, other than on airfares. He appeared to stay at backpacker style hostels and`to eat very parsimoniously indeed. We fear he consumed a vegan variety of seeds and berries.

This meant he was very hard to criticise for travelling at ratepayer expense, except of course by those conscious – as you no doubt are – of one’s carbon footprint. What measures will you be taking to deal with the carbon consequences of these very long trips? And why are you proposing to travel so regally by comparison to your own party’s predecessors? Could you please provide us with a breakdown of how you propose to spend $33,000 on these trips? And also what is the length of the trips? With airfares as they currently are, the quantum outlined in that article seems to be almost impossible unless you are living very large indeed.

What do you say to those who believe that three different trips in such a short time is excessive? What will you be doing on such trips to justify the large expense? How are they not in breach of the Lord Mayor’s ban on junkets?

Given that you say you work as an environmental consultant, how do you respond to suggestions you might be getting ratepayers to pay for travel that could be advantageous to your business?

The Herald Sun said that you would be travelling with a member of staff. Is it envisaged that you would be sharing accommodation with that person? If not, why not?

Please feel free to contact us on the mobile 0415 99 33 26 or by return email editor[at] vexnews.comin time for our deadline of 9am
tomorrow. If you fail to respond, we will note that in the customary way.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Landeryou
Editor-in-Chief
VEXNEWS


Vexing Question Melbourne City Councillor Cathy Oke’s Overseas travel allowance

greedygreens

Recently elected Melbourne City councillor Cathy Oke has wasted no time shoving her snout into the travel trough, with reports on Nine News and in News Limited publications about a series of trips she has planned at ratepayers’ expense that will cost $33,000.

VEXNEWS invited the councillor to explain herself to a disgusted public and it appears she has been struck dumb. We (VEXNEWS)wrote to her:

cathyokedumbass

I refer to media reports that you are embarking on ratepayer funded $33,000 travel to various overseas destinations. We (vexnews) propose to do a follow-up story that explores the issues in detail.

The $33,000 bill contrasts starkly with a previous Greens party Melbourne councillor David Risstrom who travelled extensively on council business but managed to spend very little money indeed, other than on airfares. He appeared to stay at backpacker style hostels and`to eat very parsimoniously indeed. We fear he consumed a vegan variety of seeds and berries.

This meant he was very hard to criticise for travelling at ratepayer expense, except of course by those conscious – as you no doubt are – of one’s carbon footprint. What measures will you be taking to deal with the carbon consequences of these very long trips? And why are you proposing to travel so regally by comparison to your own party’s predecessors? Could you please provide us with a breakdown of how you propose to spend $33,000 on these trips? And also what is the length of the trips? With airfares as they currently are, the quantum outlined in that article seems to be almost impossible unless you are living very large indeed.

What do you say to those who believe that three different trips in such a short time is excessive? What will you be doing on such trips to justify the large expense? How are they not in breach of the Lord Mayor’s ban on junkets?

Given that you say you work as an environmental consultant, how do you respond to suggestions you might be getting ratepayers to pay for travel that could be advantageous to your business?

The Herald Sun said that you would be travelling with a member of staff. Is it envisaged that you would be sharing accommodation with that person? If not, why not?

Please feel free to contact us on the mobile 0415 99 33 26 or by return email editor[at] vexnews.comin time for our deadline of 9am
tomorrow. If you fail to respond, we will note that in the customary way.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Landeryou
Editor-in-Chief
VEXNEWS


Cost of Russian junket blowout – $50,000 for 4 days

Elected on a “No Junket” policy costs of Robert Doyle’s Russian sortie has blown out from a previous announced $20,000 to a revised budget of $50,000. Robert Doyle told Radio 3AW host Neil Mitchel that cost of accommodation was being met by the Russian host city St. Petersburg.

With the cost of a Business class return ticket listed at between $4-6,000 per person where is the rest of the money going?

Yes Melbourne’s relationship with St Petersburg is a potential valuable resource BUT Doyle should be seeking to set an example and save ratepayers money and ensure that each cent is well spent and properly accounted for certainly the news of an additional $30,000 blow out in the budget is alarming.

For $50,000 I could live in Russia for two years. But to spend that amount in four days is unjustifiable. Maybe Robert should invite a independent observer to watch over the cost expenditure of the trip. We would be pleased to undertake that role for $5,000 🙂