The appointment of Whittlesea council’s new chief executive Kelvin Spiller and the behaviour of councillors will come under the spotlight, with a state government-appointed monitor to oversee the council.
Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek this afternoon announced the state government would appoint a monitor to examine the governance and operations of the council.
He made the announcement at the request of Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf, who raised concerns about the activities and actions of councillors and their ability to provide leadership and good governance for the community.
The Local Government Inspectorate is currently investigating the council after receiving complaints about the behaviour of councillors and other matters over a number of months.
Mr Somyurek said the monitor would assess the council’s policies and processes in relation to the appointment of Mr Spiller, councillor interaction with council staff, the maintenance of a safe workplace and the handling of confidential information.
The monitor will also examine the delivery of services to the community and council’s decision making.
Mr Somyurek said the monitor would work with the council to ensure “sound and effective governance” in light of the instability in senior management over the past three years.
On Tuesday night, councillors voted to sack chief executive Simon Overland. He is the third chief executive to be shown the door at Whittlesea since April 2016.
Mr Overland had been on indefinite leave from the council since November 20, citing concerns about his health and safety.
He has blamed the behaviour of some councillors for his decision to take indefinite leave.
“In many respects the behaviours of some councillors have deteriorated, therefore increasing the risks to health and wellbeing,” he said.
“The situation has been very difficult now for two years, but with recent changes on council, I now regrettably find my own health and safety significantly affected.”
Mr Overland was appointed as chief executive in July 2017 for five years.
Mr Wolf said the monitor would provide further advice to the minister should the behaviour of councillors deteriorate further.
The council has been plagued by bullying allegations in recent weeks, with former mayor Lawrie Cox labelling the council an “unsafe working environment”.
Cr Cox told Star Weekly instances of “abuse, harassment and bullying” by some councillors had “intensified” since the council’s November 7 statutory meeting during which Cr Emilia Lisa Sterjova was appointed mayor.
Last week, Yan Yean MP Danielle Green said the council had become a “toxic workplace” and called for the councillors responsible for the ‘hiring and firing” of Whittlesea council chief executives in recent years to stand down at the next election.