South East Queensland mayor takes off days after CCC raids
LOGAN Mayor Luke Smith is roving the US and Canada on a 10-day tour launched just days after his council office was raided by the state's corruption watchdog.
Photographs posted to social media show a relaxed Cr Smith smiling on a rooftop overlooking Cincinnati, Ohio, flanked by three staffers.
The sightseeing was part of a visit to the heart of the Midwest to sign a "non-binding economic agreement" to "create a framework of co-operation" between the two cities.
Cr Smith was on a flight headed to the US two days after the Crime and Corruption Commission raid on council on December 4.
The CCC has been probing alleged links between donations and council planning work.
Cr Smith was unable to be contacted yesterday, but previously issued a statement saying he would happily assist with any investigation.
In a video of the official signing last Monday, Cr Smith said he regarded Cincinnati as "my home in the US" after having studied at the Cincinnati Christian University in the late 1990s.
Cr Smith then asked those gathered at the speech to applaud for his brother James Smith, a bible studies lecturer at the Cincinnati university, who he said was sitting in the audience.
He later presented Cincinnati administrator Harry Black with a bowl made from macadamia wood.
"We have a lot that we can learn from you," Cr Smith said at the signing.
Mr Black said like Logan, Cincinnati was "striving to be a smart city".
Itinerary locations include Vancouver, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles.
The trip was part of $380,000 in travel approved under council's Global Connections strategy.
Councillor Darren Power said he had voted against the trips in council's budget.
"(Council) is spending excessive amounts - hundreds of thousands of dollars - and are yet to satisfy me we are getting value for dollars," he said.
"You're flying business class, four or five-star hotels. I think it's excessive."
He said the CCC search related to 45 areas of concern and he saw six CCC officers leave the council offices carrying items.
A council spokeswoman said the CCC was notified of the US trip and expressed no concerns.
She said council trade missions contributed to delivering $79.3 million worth of investment and more than 400 local jobs last financial year.