Perth Principal sends letter admitting that inital endorsement of a Joondalup mayoral candidate was a mistake.
By Robert Hiini
CATHOLIC Education Office Director Ron Dullard intervened after the Principal of Sacred Heart College in Sorrento endorsed sitting Joondalup mayoral candidate Troy Pickard in a communication to parents in September.
Mr Dullard spoke to Sacred Heart Principal Ian Elders, who issued a subsequent letter on September 18, admitting the endorsement was a mistake, particularly as he was “not a ratepayer of the City of Joondalup”.
In the letter, Mr Elders urged parents to give “due consideration” to Mr Pickard’s fellow candidates Councillors Bruce Corr and Russell Poliwka.
On his election website, Mr Corr said he had earlier complained to Mr Dullard, declaring the Principal’s actions to be “highly inappropriate and unfair to Russell Poliwka and myself.”
He said that Mr Dullard took swift action to ensure an apology and the subsequent letter.
In a joint statement issued in mid-September, the defeated candidates noted that Troy Pickard’s father-in-law is the College’s Business Development Manager and that the school was recently involved in a planning controversy when it secured approval for a building that went beyond the City of Joondalup’s 10m coastal height limit.
That planning decision was made in the first half of 2008. Council minutes show that Mr Pickard declared his conflict of interest in the decision, advising the council of his family connection to Sacred Heart College’s Building Manager.
Mr Pickard was elected mayor in 2006, five months after the-then WA Government sacked the entire Council in the wake of an inquiry which found unethical Council decisions had been made.
Voter turnout for the Mayoral ballot on October 17 was at 25 percent of eligible electors, with Mr Pickard winning 53.57 percent of the vote.