Getting to Know Councillor Jessica Booth
Councillor Jessica Booth; Kalbarri Ward.
PO Box 717, Kalbarri 6536 Phone: (08) 9937 1426 Fax: (08) 9937 1426
Joined Council unopposed 2009, Retires 2013.
Jessica's profile reads:- BA in Politics and International Studies (2001) and has had 36 years in Government employment, including 3 years in the Australian Defence Force, Police Force 15 years, Child Support Agency and the ATO.
Further she reports, "that her goal is to ensure open and accountable Government by honest, reliable representation in all matters pertaining to the success of Kalbarri residents and ratepayers. She lists her willingness to:
- Listen and support ideas that manage or promote tourism and increase financial stability.
- Fully participate in teamwork with Council and Community members to actively support the needs of the local business, including the fishing industry.
- Encourage and promote strong support for all volunteer services and ongoing needs of the elderly.
- Keen to consider ideas for conservation, sustainability and self sufficiency projects for the Kalbarri region."
During our short conversation with her (16/10/09) she also informed us that she is a person who honours her word, with contacts in many Government Departments, suggesting that in her opinion Kalbarri has been missing out on a lot of the available grant money and this would be an avenue she would explore to help in the development of Kalbarri.
As a professional public servant one would expect her to be well trained in the art of listening and be use to fully assessing things before making any decisions. Her experience is welcomed in the new Kalbarri.
The following information is presented as a series of emails/publications between Kramer, the KT and Kalbarri's new Shire Councillor, Cr Jessica Booth.
Further to what has already been published on the KT web site concerning Cr Booth we offer the following and again ask our readers to be the judge.
After having a one on one meeting in Oct 2009 with Cr Booth she writes;
At our meeting on the morning of Friday 16th October 2009 I promised that I would (in fairness to you as a ratepayer) agree to access your website and email you as soon as I had done so.
As a person who honours my word, I just wanted to let you know that I have spent some time going over the site today, but choose to make no further comment.
As I said at our meeting, I am the type of person who develops their own opinion and prefers to look forward to the future and not backward at the past.
Story number one.
While searching for some answers to the Shire's CEO land/loan deal (as set out in section '4 Council, page 4') an e-mail was sent to our new Councillor Jessica Booth, asking her for her help to record all votes concerning the CEO land/loan deal as the KT believe any ratepayer would have the right to. Other questions were also asked in an effort to respond to rumour.
Following is a copy of the KT e-mail and a copy of Cr Booth's response.
Hi Jessica (Kalbarri Councillor)
Hope all is well with you and your family.
I am writing to inform you of the mounting concern ratepayers are having with the deal council is doing for the CEO, land+loan.
The KT is following it at the moment and have published comments on the www.kalbarritruth.com web site. (page 4 Council)
This may end up with an official complaint going to the CCC to have it investigated.
In my opinion it is important for you to consider your vote and ask you to fully record all Councillors votes on this subject.
As one of our Shire Councillors I would also like you to respond to the questions:- Is it true that he (CEO) owns a house at Horrocks? If so why another one?
In anticipation of your timely response,
Barry and the team at KT.com
PS As a ratepayer of more than 25 years I personally look to you, because of your past experiences to head up the changes many believe are necessary to bring harmony and unity to our Shire. You will always have my full support if you are seen to show respect for the needs of our Kalbarri community.
Cr Booth's responce;
From: Jessica Booth & Ian Bursnell mailto:email@example.com
Sent: Monday, 21 December 2009 6:39 AM
To: 'Barry Kramer'
Cc: Gordon D Wilson
Subject: RE: Dear Councillor
Firstly, as you are fully aware, I am not authorised to speak on behalf of Council and you need to contact the authorised persons for information, that being the current president Gordon Wilson, the CEO Garry Keeffe or alternatively you could source a written response to the Geraldton Guardian written by the past President George Parker to fully explain the business decision made by Council in regard to this issue.
Secondly, I have read your comments on your website and it would appear that you have sourced the initial information presented by the reporters in the Geraldton Guardian and used this information to your own advantage on your website without providing the follow up information or ensuring that your source is correct. These actions do not provide the harmony and unity you say you are seeking, they appear to be intended to create just the opposite. I do not believe there is mounting concern on this issue. There were some questions a couple of weeks ago that have been fully answered, but nothing further has been mentioned to me by the people of this town for some time since so I can only presume they have considered the facts and find there is nothing underhanded or hidden occurring here.
Lastly, your questions are irrelevant to this issue. Conditions of employment contracts between an employee and an employer do not take into account any assets of that employee, so the bottom line is that I don't know the answers and see no need to find out.
I will cc a copy of my response to our President Gordon Wilson, so he is aware of your concerns if you choose to contact him for further comment.
KT Comment/opinion. (Answering Cr Booth's email and as published on the KT web site in section '4 Council, page 4', Jan 2010);
Dear Cr Booth thank you for your timely response. However your response is considered misguided and a little ill-mannered.
We respectfully question, where were you asked to speak on behalf of Council?
As for speaking for yourself you will find your Council Policy 1.2 states "A Councillors right to express a personal opinion on any issue of public interest is recognised", its called freedom of speech, don't worry there is nothing to be afraid of.
In your e-mail you accuse Mr Kramer (ratepayer) of using public information to his advantage, "used this information to your own advantage on your website". Please be informed that both Kramer and the KT web site act as messenger, the web site continues to exists because of a lack of local government accountability, if doing what one can to change that in the hope of getting a better class of councillor is the advantage you speak of, so be it. Accountability happens to be something you promised to be one of your goals as a councillor, "to ensure open and accountable Government" were your written words.
The history of this Council will show there has been plenty of intimidating and bullying but little accountability, you are on record saying that you are not interested in the past, fair comment. However it is said those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. As for the job of creating community harmony and unity this belongs to you and the Council you now belong to, don't be afraid to get on with it.
You write that "you could source a written response to the Geraldton Guardian written by the past President George Parker to fully explain the business decision made by Council in regard to this issue." (Geraldton Guardian?) One may ask why wasn't this explained in the minutes of the Council Meeting, this being the official place for ratepayers to find Council decisions and reasons for decisions? As a Councillor you may also see a need to keep our community better informed by taking the initiative and writing a monthly councillors' report in the Kalbarri Town Talk.
May you be reminded that it was your choice to offer to serve our ratepayers over the next 4 years.
Some may see it as we have done that the way you have chosen to respond to a ratepayers request for help and your response to some simple questions could indicate that you are not the person for the job?
Speaking from experience this is what life is like working beside some in our community. You would have first been encouraged to take a position on the front line (councillor). You would have also been encouraged by them to use this position and place yourself above the community. You would have been well advised on who to hate. After a skirmish such as this they will patronize you, use sympathy to raise your self-esteem, reload you with spite and send you back to the front line. Those we speak of would be extremely pleased to have someone new to use and hide behind.
The KT wish to encourage not condemn new Councillors, but they will need to demonstrate total understanding, tolerance and respect for ratepayers to deserve that encouragement. You are new to the task, there is a lot to learn and there is a lot you won't be told and will have to learn for yourself, With this hiccup aside we look forward to publishing your achievements as one of our first trustworthy, open-minded and effective Community Representative.
The Post Script (PS) comment made by Kramer in his e-mail stands, but with a greater focus on your personal performance as one of our Shire Councillors.
The ratepayer's request for you to record all Councillor's votes is yet to be answered.
As previously stated members of the KT are at peace in the knowledge that what they do they do for others, out of that comes a sense of worth.
The next story starts with a Kalbarri rate payer forwarding an email to the KT's email address recording a complaint about the bullying tactics of another Kalbarri Shire Councillor. It was thought appropriate to send a copy of this to Councillor Booth with a request to have the Shire President investigate it and take the necessary action in the hope it would never happen again. The KT's decision to publish this chapter came after a lengthy debate.
This is how it went.
Email sent to the KT from concerned rate payer.
"AUSTRALIA DAY SPIRIT
GOOD ON YOU LOU
Kalbarri councilor LOU PARKER should be congratulated for his outstanding performance as a bully and intimadater. As a elected community representative and leader he should hang his head in shame for his actions.This particular event took place on Australia day morning at 8am while setting up the sausage sizzle stall for the purpose of fund raising for the ST JOHNS AMBULANCE fund in kalbarri.When the two male volunteers left to pick up supplys he decided to confront the female helper in a rude and nasty manner telling her to remove everything away for sports and rec who where starting to cook at 1pm.When she explained he would have to wait for the people in charge he still insisted she move everything NOW.He then tried to intimidate her with how important sports and rec was.All this to a lady who has lived here for 8 years who spent years every fair using her car to pick up a trailor ,barbque ,tables,chairs with all proceeds going to sports and rec.This and further incidents were witnessed by people from northampton,geraldton and dongara who enjoy coming to our town to sell . The tension he created on the day was disgusting and very avoidable. We as a community need to support the people who made the day so special .Kate does a wonderful job with the fares.Brett did alot of fundraising for the fireworks CONCERNED RESIDENT NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD."
Email sent from KT to Cr Booth with a copy of the rate payer's concerns. This was sent to Cr Booth asking her to forward it to the President believing she would ensure a response if not a timely response.
Councillor Jessica Booth
Hope all is going well for you and your family.
As one of our community representatives (Councillor) the KT wish to draw your attention to an email sent to us from one of your concerned rate payers.
The content of the email is considered to be a breach of your Council's code of conduct so you are asked to bring it to the attention of your President and have him investigate it and take the necessary action to ensure this bully does not intimidate other people in our community.
The KT believe this public display of bullying deserves a public apology from Parker, he would be well aware that his outburst was in ear-shot of other visitors attending the Aust. Day functions. We all know bullies need an audience to show off their skills.
You may see the KT as firing someone else's bullets but we are well aware of the fear of retribution many folk in Kalbarri have. You have lived here long enough to realise that.
We also wish to inform you that this will be published on the www.kalbarritruth.com both the complaint and the outcome.
The KT will respect this rate payer's request not to be named.
We await your response.
Ps. You will be sent a DVD in the next few days.
Cr Booth responds.
I concur with the author of your email that our thanks need to go out to everyone who contributed to the overall success of the Australia Day event. Kate Ralph and Brett Jolly have done a lot of hard work for many events, including this one, and their donations to our local charity organisations is well known. Additionally, the tireless efforts of the Sports and Rec volunteers is also greatly appreciated and we should be thankful for the efforts of all the groups involved to organise and run such a large event.
I was not present during any conversations between the volunteers, but my involvement a short time later has identified a need for several more concrete BBQ slabs in strategic positions around that area (to comply with health regulations) and allow at least 4-5 food vendors to be present all day during these events - which would provide variety and ongoing supply of food to everyone either working or attending the event . Myself and other another Councillor have already resolved to speak with the CEO about whether this is possible to ensure there is plenty of space for everyone to cook and sell food in the future.
As requested, I have forwarded the content of your email to our President and CEO for their information.
Please be informed that the only part of this email to be published in the 'Email' section of the KT web site was the bottom line which was placed under the heading "Councillor Booth informed the KT on the 10th February that;
As requested, I have forwarded the content of your email to our President and CEO for their information."
Email from KT thanking Cr Booth.
The KT thank you for your timely response.
Please be informed that responding to rate payer's correspondence is something new for Kalbarri Shire Councillors. You are now part of the process of change, congratulations.
Another email from Cr Booth to the KT.
I consulted your website this morning to ascertain how much information you actually edit or delete from correspondence sent to you. I notice that you place the entire contents of your own emails onto the website and include in full your own beliefs about those issues, but you edit the responses sent to you and fail as an editor to report the full facts.
As such, I am no longer prepared to respond to any future emails from you regarding issues you may have. Any questions that you wish to direct to me as a Councillor can be forwarded in writing to the Shire of Northampton Office.
Below are the 2 paragraphs presented by Cr Booth that were thought to be irrelevant to the original request for help concerning a rate payer being bullied by one of her peers. These two paragraphs were not published in the 'Email' section of our web site.
"I concur with the author of your email that our thanks need to go out to everyone who contributed to the overall success of the Australia Day event. Kate Ralph and Brett Jolly have done a lot of hard work for many events, including this one, and their donations to our local charity organisations is well known. Additionally, the tireless efforts of the Sports and Rec volunteers is also greatly appreciated and we should be thankful for the efforts of all the groups involved to organise and run such a large event.
I was not present during any conversations between the volunteers, but my involvement a short time later has identified a need for several more concrete BBQ slabs in strategic positions around that area (to comply with health regulations) and allow at least 4-5 food vendors to be present all day during these events - which would provide variety and ongoing supply of food to everyone either working or attending the event . Myself and other another Councillor have already resolved to speak with the CEO about whether this is possible to ensure there is plenty of space for everyone to cook and sell food in the future."
After being told by Cr Booth that she was "no longer prepared to respond to any future emails from you regarding issues you may have" an explanation for omitting the 2 paragraphs was emailed back to her.
Dear Councillor Booth
Hoping all is well with you and your family.
In answer to your email 16-02-2010.
We are always ready to accept criticism, the good part about this is that most of it is constructive unlike yours.
The decision to omit 2 paragraphs from your email dated 10-02-2010 was done because those 2 paragraphs were considered totally irrelevant to the request made to you as a Kalbarri Ward Shire Councillor.
You were somewhat of an unknown when you nominated for the position of Shire Councillor, sadly it is starting to become more evident that you may be there to simply appease your ego?
The 2 paragraphs in question were seen to be all about making you look good/self-seeking. Little referred to the core issue of bullying! It was also noticed a CC went to the CEO?
It is disappointing that another of our Councillors is willing to ignore rate payers questions, but this seems to be the trend set by 'anti-councillors' who put themselves above the people, ruling rather than serving. You are a Councillor by choice, your job is to correspond to all rate payers without being biased or prejudice.
Both myself and the team at the KT are at ease in the knowledge that the www.kalbarritruth.com web site simply acts as a 'MESSENGER'. We are all ready and willing to concentrate on your good deeds as a Kalbarri Ward Councillor. Starting time was October 1009.
We look forward to a more pleasant response to our next request for help.
Ps. You are no longer an unknown.
Shire Councillor J. Booth's latest response emailed to the KT.
Jessica Booth & Ian Bursnell [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent Wed 17/02/2010 7:37 AM
To 'Barry Kramer'
Dear Ex Councillor Kramer
As usual, your email response is once again full of spite and accusation, which sadly is why no-one seems to take you seriously. Further, your response on the website to a tourist who reported she liked our town and questioned what your website was about, I found appalling. Your efforts appear to be aimed at destroying the town you claim you want to help.
I have spoken to people around town about your own efforts as a Councillor and a couple of the responses include -
Barry was terrific in the beginning, he attended schools and asked people around town what they wanted, but then he got out of control with his issues with Ron and dropped the ball.
Another claimed they were on your side until you embarrassed them at public meetings to the degree that when the vote came, they voted for Ron Allen in preference to you.
Further, I asked a colleague of mine who is a very active lobbyist against a Council in the Eastern States to access your website. Her response was that it could not be taken seriously as you sounded like a nutter. Her words not mine.
Not one person I have spoken takes you seriously or can remember any project you actually undertook personally or completed that would assist this town. It is obvious that you believe you can walk the walk and talk the talk, but I am remiss as to what you actually achieved in this town other than trying to stir trouble wherever you went .
I am happy to accept and followup any issues received directly from concerned ratepayers, however I will no longer allow you to use me to further your own ends and your own ego on the Kalbarri Truth Website, which interestingly I believe you denied any affiliation with during a Council meeting.
In my view you do not represent the better part of Kalbarri citizens and your attitude and behaviour have exceeded any rights you may have had in trying to act as an intermediately. Having said that, I hope you accept this email as the constructive criticism you say you are ready to accept. Having seen you in action myself during a Council meeting I somehow doubt it, as sadly your personal vendetta against Ron Allen and anyone associated with him appears to have taken over your entire life.
KT's response 26/02/10.
Northampton Shire Councillor Jessica Booth the KT thank you for your email. It is accepted as a profound lesson in spite and bitterness.
The questions must now be asked;
full of spite and accusation" where does that place your last email?
Do you support those who are known bullies?
We believe if you support the person you automatically support their behaviour, where are you placed?
Do you say what is published on the KT web site is not true?
Are you simply unwilling to accept the undeniable evidence?Please allow us this opportunity to inform you and anyone else who appears like minded that our reports on community bullies, Councillor Ron Allen and other councillors are fact. Shire Councillors for one are expected to be honest Community Representatives who facilitate communications between Council and the Community and more importantly as Public Servant they should be above reproach and fully prepared to SERVE THEIR COMMUNITY not rule it. Bullies need no explanation and should be publicly identified and treated accordingly.
- If you say Kramer's email was "
Your last email, no matter how spiteful will be used constructively by Kramer and the KT. To be kind it could be said this was just a clash of two people who happen to have a short fuse, maybe? However we are Rate Payers and we believe we are entitled to honest and competent Local Government representation, delivered in a civil non discriminant manner.
You on the other hand are by choice a Community Public Servant sworn to "take the office upon myself ,and will duly, faithfully, honestly,and with integrity fulfil the duties of the office for the people in the district according to the best of my judgment and ability, and will observe the code of conduct". We are not asking for or expecting a slave!
The KT look forward to you sending us notice of your achievements as they unfold thus allowing us to publish a balanced report on your progress as one of our Shire Councillor.
Your deeds as a Councillor over your 4 year term will without a doubt unveil the true you, as it continues to do with all other Northampton Shire Councillors.
May we finish by saying, "The weapon of discredit has no effect on the truth".
Date:- 4th September 2011.
Time to review Cr Booths' performance as a Shire Councillor.
Following is the list of promises (in italic) when becoming a Shire Councillor and the KTs' opinion of her performance based on reports received from members of our community.
1."Listen and support ideas that manage or promote tourism and increase financial stability."
KT opinion:- Kalbarris' Tourist Industry is failing at a great rate.
2. "Fully participate in teamwork with Council and Community members to actively support the needs of the local business, including the fishing industry."
KT opinion:- "Teamwork with Council", 10 out of 10. "Teamwork with community members", 2 out of 10. "Support the needs of business, including the fishing industry". Well the Kalbarri fishing industry is said to be stuffed, businesses are struggling many for sale.
3. Encourage and promote strong support for all volunteer services and ongoing needs of the elderly.
KT opinion:- Giving lip service to volunteer groups. Little has changed concerning the needs of the elderly!
4."Keen to consider ideas for conservation, sustainability and self sufficiency projects for the Kalbarri region".
KT opinion:- A public promise to "consider" issues does little to build a communities future.
5. "In her opinion Kalbarri has been missing out on a lot of the available grant money and this would be an avenue she would explore to help in the development of Kalbarri".
KT opinion:- There has been little Kalbarri development that has benefited the community as a whole.
Cr Booth may be good at,
Listen and support ideas.
Fully participate in teamwork.
Encourage and promote.
Keen to consider ideas.
Would explore to help.
In hindsight we now realise that she never made a commitment to do anything but LISTEN, SUPPORT, ENCOURAGE and EXPLORE never offering to get involved in a hands on approach. Sad that many capable Kalbarri community members are uncaring and uninvolved not wanting to stand as a candidate to represent their community as a shire councillor. So the cult continues to retain its mental control over the faithful.
This can be seen as just the KTs' opinion. We ask our readers to form their own.
We ask Cr Booth to contact the KT if she believes we have misreported her performance as a Kalbarri Shire Councillor.
The KT accept this as Cr Booth's responce.