Mandurah councillor pleads innocence, calls for details of investigation against him to be revealed

A City of Mandurah councillor is under government investigation but the elected member has told the Mandurah Mail he has no knowledge of the allegations against him.

A Western Australian Department of Local Government investigation into the conduct of Town Ward councillor Dave Schumacher was launched just months after his reelection in October 2017.

However, Cr Schumacher said he was only informed of the probe in December 2018 by City of Mandurah chief executive officer Mark Newman.

Speaking out on the matter, Cr Schumacher told the Mail he had nothing to hide and called for answers from the department.

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He said the length of investigation could suggest a more serious offence than what is actually being investigated and had the potential to degrade the whole council's image.

"I’ve never been contacted but I had an inkling [it was me],” he said. 

“Apparently the allegations have been there for 12 months. Mark Newman got a phone call from the Department of Local Government in December and it was confirmed the inquiry was… allegations against me.

"Casting an aspersion on an organisation and then not contacting the person who the allegation is made against - that’s not natural justice.

"That’s wrong. I’m not going to have the City of Mandurah as an organisation have that aspersion… over them.

The front page of the Mandurah Mail on February 14.

The front page of the Mandurah Mail on February 14.

"It’s not against them. What does it say to their ratepayers? I stand up for what I believe in. I’m not going to change who I am."  

WA Local Government Minister and Mandurah MP David Templeman said he could rationalise the timescale of the investigation as the department was wading through several other inquiries state-wide.

“Quite often there’s legal advice needed to be sought and natural justice processes followed. I certainly would love a more streamlined process,” Mr Templeman said.

"It’s frustrating for me. I can understand when council, elected members or the sector gets a little bit frustrated that it takes some time.

"I can’t discuss the detail of it because it is, obviously, subject to a departmental inquiry. It's what’s called an authorised inquiry. They’re not irregular, they happen frequently.”

A Department of Local Government spokesperson confirmed the inquiry was ongoing but would not release information related to the investigation.

Follow Caitlyn Rintoul on Twitter @caitlynrintoul