Cr Vic Pennisi
Cr Vic Pennisi

Councillor claims $20k in expenses

OVER $20,000 worth of expenses have been claimed by Southern Downs Councillor Vic Pennisi, according to the 2013/2014 annual report.

Mayor Peter Blundell said the claim was in line with the remuneration policy despite other councillors claiming over $12,000 less.

Stanthorpe-based Cr Pennisi said he had travelled over 90,000km in his ute - including local and Brisbane trips. Cr Pennisi claimed a total of $20,002.50 for car reimbursement and mobile expenses and an extra $1469.73 for expenses including mandatory training, accommodation, meals and transfer expenses.

"It's 133km just for a trip to Warwick," Cr Pennisi said.

"I go to the coordinator general in Brisbane and make sure I do other things in Brisbane while I'm there.

"I don't personally have another form of income but my wife runs a hydrotherapy business from home," he said.

Cr Pennisi also claimed costs of flights to Canberra for discussions about Emu Swamp Dam.

Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley came in second highest with $7309.50 for car reimbursement and $1437.23 in extras. Cr Blundell was the next highest claiming only $1200 for his mobile and $7352.68 in training, accommodation, travel and meals.

Three of nine councillors (Crs Gow, Mackenzie and McNally) didn't claim any expenses for phone and vehicle reimbursement.

Cr Gow said in past years he had claimed, but this year felt he didn't need to.

"Unlike other councillors I have income outside of council," he said.

"My family farm is doing very well, although I wouldn't be able to run the farm without the help of my dad and brother.

"I'm happy to just wear the costs of being in council and consider it a gift to the community."

Cr Denise Ingram said it was up to the individual in regards to claims. "I don't claim any local expenses," she said.

"You just have to be able to justify what you're claiming."

Meanwhile councillors had a special meeting yesterday in regards to the new CEO recruitment. Cr Blundell said seven candidates would be interviewed for the position within the next two weeks. "I'd like to hope we have the position filled before the New Year."

2013/14 claims

Councillor

Mobile

Vehicle

Vehicle kms

Total

Blundell

$1200

N/A

N/A

$1,200

Bartley

Not claimed

$7309.50

9,746km

$7,309.50

Gow

Did not claim

Ingram

Not claimed

$5, 627.25

7,503

$5,627.25

Meiklejohn

$2,079

$3,417.30

4,557

$5,496.30

Mackenzie

Did not claim

McNally

Did not claim

Pennisi

$1,200

$18,802.50

25,070

$20,002.50

Rees

$1,200

$2,508

3344

$3,708



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