Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been hit by allegations of nepotism and improper conduct.
Complaints have been lodged with City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone alleging favouritism by the Lord Mayor towards the development of a public children’s playground at Fitzroy Gardens, Kings Cross and the proposed expansion of a private childcare facility in Darlinghurst, which would see Berwick Lane and the John Birt Memorial Playground sold to developers.
The playground was passed by Council last week, while the childcare centre development is still under consideration.
City News understands the complaints relate to an alleged breach of the City’s Guidelines for Speakers at Council Committees and the councillors’ Code of Conduct 2009 documents.
It is alleged the Lord Mayor broke the guidelines for speakers when she invited actor David Wenham to speak off the cuff at the Council Committee Meeting on Monday, November 5.
The guidelines state members of the public who wish to speak must register “by calling Council’s Secretariat … before 12 noon on the day of the meeting”.
Ms Moore invited Mr Wenham from the public gallery to speak, despite the actor not having registered.
“I didn’t intend to speak; I don’t have anything prepared,” said Mr Wenham, before agreeing to address the meeting.
Mr Wenham spoke in support of the Fitzroy Gardens playground – a pet project of the Lord Mayor.
A spokesperson for the Lord Mayor conceded she invited Mr Wenham to speak without notice but said this was common practice.
“Speakers are routinely allowed to speak about any report they wish even if they have not registered,” said the spokesperson.
“The noon timeline is just an aid to help the administration of the meeting.”
Ms Moore is also alleged to have breached the councillors’ Code of Conduct by meeting privately with Claudia Bowman, Chair of Kings Cross Parents’ and Carers’ Association, almost two weeks before the Council Committee Meeting.
Ms Moore invited Ms Bowman to Town Hall on Tuesday, October 23.
Ms Bowman is a political ally and friend of Ms Moore, who ran unsuccessfully on the Lord Mayor’s ticket in the September local government elections.
A Town Hall source told City News: “If inviting Claudia to discuss this matter two weeks before a committee meeting isn’t nepotism, what is?”
After the meeting with Ms Moore, Ms Bowman urged her Facebook followers to attend the November 5 committee meeting.
“Today I met with Clover Moore,” Ms Bowman wrote. “From this meeting at Town Hall, I have this simple message: if you are a parent or carer, a grandparent, local business owner, or simply a resident … you absolutely must come and show your support [for these projects] at the Council Committee Meeting.”
A spokesperson for the Lord Mayor dismissed claims of nepotism: “Elected representatives meet with members of the community all the time about issues relevant to them.”