PSYCHOLOGICAL testing of Liverpool councillors and weekend training has led some to question whether ratepayers’ money was being appropriately spent.
But Liverpool Council general manager Farooq Portelli said the costs were more than justified, as many councillors were new to the role, and required training to help prepare them to consider and develop the strategic direction of council over the term.
The psychological assessment was made up of 600 questions and cost $250 a councillor.
This sum was added to the $42,440 that had already been spent on weekend training since October.
Of that amount, almost half — $19,716 — was spent on accommodation and meal expenses.
Cr Anne Stanley said the amount was extravagant and questioned how Mr Portelli could justify the expense.
“There is no need to have these training days so far away from Liverpool that accommodation needs to be accounted for,” she said.
“If council can’t host the training days, then there are many venues in Liverpool that can.
“Hosting the events locally would eliminate the need for accommodation, and ultimately save ratepayers $20,000 — money that could be reinvested into things our residents actually need.”
Mr Portelli said the amount was a small price to ask for taking councillors and staff away from their families to undertake additional training without compensation.
“Councillors and senior staff undertook two weekend workshops following the September local government elections to complete training,” he said.
“It was recommended to councillors by the external workshop trainer that they undertake a values, development and personality survey exercise.
“The purpose of this exercise was to assist in understanding different perspectives in planning for the future, and for leadership development and team building.”
Cr Stanley and four of her colleagues declined to take part in the exercise.
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