No joy for ex-Crs return

The Bunjil Place opening in 2017 (from left), with former Casey CEO Mike Tyler, and ex-councillors Rex Flannery, Amanda Stapledon, Timothy Jackson, Milla Gilic, Susan Serey, Sam Aziz, Jason Wood MP, Wayne Smith, Geoff Ablett and Damien Rosario. 174129_01

By Ethan Benedicto

Berwick residents aren’t too keen with Casey’s sacked ex-councillors eyeing a comeback on the October election this year.

At Berwick High Street, two elderly locals were appalled by the news, with one of them saying “yeah no, it’s not something I’d be voting for.”

One replied saying “hopefully he wouldn’t get re-elected.”

“How could he? When his name’s been slandered, tarnished and everything else,” her friend said.

Then-Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek sacked the 2020 Casey councillors following the corruption inquiry by IBAC’s Operation Sandon.

An inquiry report in 2023 found that former mayors Sam Aziz and Geoff Ablett accepted more than $1.15 million in payments and donations from developer John Woodman.

There is no confirmation as to whether any of the ex-councillors will be facing any criminal charges.

Another resident, when asked if it was a good idea for any of them to run again said “clearly not.”

“I don’t know much about it, but based on general information and the news, I would say no, that’s not very fair.”

A local who frequented the cafes said that the idea should never have been entertained.

“Well everyone’s obviously lost trust, a hundred per cent.

“Look, we’ve run without it for all this time, so they’re going to need to build some trust if they ever want to see themselves up there again,” she said.

Ex-deputy mayor Rex Flannery, who was not named in IBAC’s report, declared he would run for election.

A number of other ex-councillors, such as Damien Rosario and Wayne Smith are still undecided.

Any Operation Sandon-related inquiries will need to be finalised before October.