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Parliament dismisses the Council

Parliament dismisses the Council

Thursday, March 19, 2020

State Parliament has dismissed the Council following a three-month investigation into governance and operations at the City of Whittlesea.

Parliament passed a Bill today to dismiss the entire Council after a report from Monitor Mr Yehudi Blacher was tabled.

An interim administrator will be appointed once the Bill receives Royal Assent, before establishing a full panel.

Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek appointed Mr Blacher to the role of Monitor in December following the termination of former CEO Simon Overland’s employment contract and a number of allegations of bullying amongst councillors, and towards staff.

In a statement, Minister Somyurek said, “We did not take this decision lightly – the Monitor found serious failures by Whittlesea City Councillors and we acted swiftly to protect residents and ratepayers.”

Read his full statement here.

Acting CEO Joe Carbone said:

“We are pleased that the Monitor has made his recommendations at this early stage rather than waiting the full six months of his appointment.”

 “We would like to thank Minister Somyurek for accepting Mr Blacher’s recommendations and moving quickly to act upon them.”

 “Our focus is, and always has been, to serve our community. The past three months has been unsettling for our staff and community. In this challenging time, where coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving and changing the way we go about our normal everyday lives, our focus can be solely on supporting our community as best we can.”

READ our Frequently Asked Questions

Has the Council been sacked?

Yes. On the recommendation of the Monitor Yehudi Blacher, the Parliament has passed legislation to dismiss the City of Whittlesea Councillors. The dismissal comes into effect one day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

Why has the Council been sacked?

The Monitor's recommendation to dismiss the Councillors cites a culture of infighting and division and internal bickering, which has led to the total collapse of governance by the Councillors and Council of the Whittlesea City Council.

What will happen now?

The Minister for Local Government will appoint an interim Administrator to carry out the role, responsibilities and functions of a councillor as set out in the Local Government Act. 

This is expected to be followed by a four-year appointment of a permanent panel of three Administrators with one of them appointed as Chairperson.  The Chairperson will perform all the functions, powers and duties of the Mayor of the City of Whittlesea.

The Administrators become 'the Council' and are responsible for the good governance and smooth running of the organisation to ensure that the community receives the essential services, activities and infrastructure that they need.

Are Council administrators the same as private sector administrators?

Administrators in local government are different to the corporate world. Council Administrators replace councillors and are not involved in operational matters regarding the organisation.  Administrators in the private sector are appointed when a company is in financial difficulty or receivership, which is NOT the case at the City of Whittlesea.

What are the differences between the role of a Councillor and the role of the administrator?

There are no differences in their roles and what they do.  The only difference is that councillors are elected by the community and the Minister for Local Government appoints Administrators. 

Will this impact how Council operates?

The organisation will continue to run as usual. The day-to-day operations of the organisation will continue to run under the direction and leadership of the Acting CEO and Executive Leadership Team. The Administrators are here to act as the Council, effectively replacing the role previously performed by the Councillors.

What is the remuneration of the administrators? Who pays for that?

Administrators are provided with payment and allowances and employed on conditions set by the Minister for Local Government. Remuneration and allowances will be paid by the City of Whittlesea.

Will Council services still operate as normal?

Absolutely.  Staff in the organisation will continue to deliver the services, activities and infrastructure that our community needs.  The Administrators will carry out the duties and responsibilities that Councillors would have and they are not responsible for the day-to day operations of the organisation.

How do residents raise concerns when there are no Councillors to represent them?

The interim and then permanent Administrators are here for residents to contact and engage with.  They will carry out the role and responsibilities of previous City of Whittlesea councillors, including representing the interests of residents and our communities. More information on contacting and engaging with Administrators will be made available in the coming days. 

In the meantime, you can continue to contact us or report an issue in the usual way:

    • Call our Customer Service Centre on 9217 2170 (24 hours)
  • Email us at info@whittlesea.vic.gov.au
  • Submit an online customer request via our website
    • Report an issue using Snap Send Solve - a free app you can download on your iPhone or Android 
      to report issues and provide feedback to us in under 30 seconds
  • Write to us at Locked Bag 1, Bundoora MDC VIC 3083