South Australian Local Government Association president Lorraine Rosenberg has resigned following a special meeting of the organisation’s executive committee this afternoon.
A motion of no confidence was also passed against Ms Rosenberg as Onkaparinga Mayor on Tuesday night following issues around the council’s spending and leadership over the past year.
In a statement, Ms Rosenberg said she accepted the executive committee’s recommendation that her resignation was in the best interests of the sector.
“As my current position is not adding positively to both the LGA and to local government, I have decided to tender my resignation,” Ms Rosenberg said.
“I wish my replacement and the organisation the best of luck and pledge my ongoing strong support.”
A special meeting of the LGA board will be held next week to appoint a new president, who will stay in place until a full election in October.
The council has been plagued by issues around its spending and leadership over the past year, and last month ombudsman Wayne Lines confirmed he was investigating its corporate credit card spending.
Purchases included a roof-climb at Adelaide Oval for 25 staff and an Apple Watch for chief executive Mark Dowd.
Mr Dowd also repaid almost $7,000 of taxpayer funds, which the council had spent for him to join the prestigious Kooyonga Golf Club.
Rate-capping campaign unsuccessful
Ms Rosenberg also led an unsuccessful $174,000 campaign against rate capping in the lead-up to March’s state election.
Immediate past president Dave Burgess said turmoil at Onkaparinga Council — the state’s largest by population — lessened its impact.
“I don’t think we got the full impact of our campaign because of those distractions,” he said.
“But it is very important for the public to understand that rate capping will make life difficult, especially for rural councils, and at the end of the day the council is responsible for the people that elect it more so than the State Government that wants to rate cap it.”
Several other councils called for Ms Rosenberg to resign or consider resigning ahead of today’s vote.
Tuesday’s motion was brought by Councillor Robyn Holtham. It passed nine votes to five.
Ms Holtham said the council had leadership and spending issues in recent years, and the councillors wanted a change.
“I would like to see some commitment to change — positive change — so the community can begin to have faith in us as their council again,” Ms Holtham said.
“I don’t even know if that’s possible at this stage.”
Ms Rosenberg plans to run for re-election at November’s council elections.
In April, the LGA presented her with the Joy Baluch award, which goes to a woman who has made a significant contribution to their council and the community in the past year.