By KIERAN FINNANE
Councillor Geoff Booth, embroiled in a scandal over an escort agency application, resigned from the Town Council at 4.58pm today.
No further action will being taken by the council on the report looking at whether Cr Booth was indeed residing in Alice Springs and whether he had brought council into disrepute with his escort agency plans.
In an email to CEO Rex Mooney, read to the meeting tonight, Cr Booth cited expanding business interests as restricting his ability to serve the community. He regretted not being able to pursue as councillor a number of strategies which he felt would benefit the town. He signed off: “Good governance.”
The resignation is effective immediately. Mr Mooney will advise the Department of Local Government and other relevant authorities tomorrow, the first in a number of administrative steps leading to a by-election.
Council had prepared the chamber for a large number of visitors but the normal seating in the public gallery could have accommodated the 20 or so who came. There were no questions to the council from the public on the subject of Cr Booth. Among those in the gallery were people who have sought public office in the past, such as Leo Abbott and Phil Walcott. Certainly more media than usual attended the meeting – an ABC TV crew, CAAMA, the editor of the Centralian Advocate.
Pictured, top: Former Cr Booth’s empty seat at the Town Council meeting this evening. • During his swearing-in.
UPDATE, October 1, 2013, 9.32 am:
The full text of Cr Booth’s resignation is as follows:-
Dear Mr. Mooney,
I hereby tender my resignation as Councillor effective immediately.
My business interests have expanded since my election in 2011 and the time required to perform these duties is restricting my ability to serve the Alice Springs Community.
It is extremely disappointing to leave before my term had expired as I had several strategies to table which could have provided better outcomes and services for Alice Springs.
Thank you again and good governance.
The Alice Springs News Online asked CEO Rex Mooney whether he intends to pursue setting up a register of councillors’ and executive officers’ business and property interests , as foreshadowed in his report to council on the Booth issues. He says a report on the matter will go to the October committee meetings.