Western Australia’s crime and corruption commission has exposed ‘serious misconduct in local government’ by a former CEO who used shire funds to pay for a sex worker.
For more than a year from March 2020, the then CEO of Ravensthorpe Shire, Gavin Pollock registered ‘Ms E’ as a council supplier, creating fake invoices and claiming payments worth almost $55,000.
One invoice described “administrative support and research services to the CEO” and another claimed $8,580 for “assistance in document development …and researching various local government information”, the report tabled on September 22 says.
Mr Pollock was about to process two more payments to Ms E totalling $13,530 before being found out by the commission.
Mr Pollock had been a client of Ms E for about five years.
The CCC said he told them he set up the shame scheme with her because he needed “support services” at a time he felt he was being undermined within the organisation and couldn’t talk to anyone else.
This was no one-off lapse of judgement at a time of great personal stress but a calculated scheme which was active for more than a year.WA CCC
The commission didn’t accept his account.
“The sole purpose of the scheme was for Mr Pollock to receive sexual services,” the watchdog said.
“The primary motive was to allow Mr Pollock to experience a range of paid sexual experiences with Ms E and others.
“This was no one-off lapse of judgement at a time of great personal stress but a calculated scheme which was active for more than a year until brought to an end by outside intervention.”
Mr Pollock, who sacked by Council on September 31, acknowledged responsibility for the sham scheme, saying “I have to own it, wear it. I’m not ducking from that”.
Criminal charges recommended
Mr Pollock had a long career in local government and was previously CEO of the Shire of Pingelly and held managerial positions in Port Hedland, Chittering and Coolgardie.
His wife was also employed at Ravensthorpe.
The CCC has recommended criminal charges and is continuing its investigation.
The commission said it had tabled a number of reports on recent years about men in positions of authority or influence misusing public funds for sexual gratification.
It noted that the details surrounding Mr Pollock’s misconduct were “salacious” but said public interest overrode his privacy given he was a public officer who “egriously betrayed the trust reposed in him to manage Ravensthorpe’s affairs” and comply with the local government act.
“Ravensthorpe is not a wealthy shire,” the commission says in the report. “It put trust in Mr Pollock to guide them well and do what is right, not spend money on sexual pleasure.”
Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at email@example.com.
Sign up to the Government News newsletter