An interim administrator has been appointed to take charge of Melbourne's scandal-plagued Casey council, after Victoria's parliament voted to sack its councillors.
Victorian Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek announced on Wednesday Noelene Duff will act as interim administrator of the council for the next 90 days.
Once Ms Duff steps down, a panel of three permanent administrators will be appointed to run the council until October 2024, when elections will be held.
“Ms Duff will work with the CEO to ensure that the council is focused on governing in the best interests of the local community and providing first class services,” Minister Somyurek said.
Legislation for the council’s dismissal cleared state parliament just hours after being introduced on Tuesday, paving the way for the interim administrator to be appointed.
The state government drafted the laws after an independent monitor observed “significant governance failures” at the authority.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has been investigating allegations of corrupt conduct involving councillors and property developers in the City of Casey.
In November the state government appointed experienced board director Laurinda Gardner as monitor, who recommended the sacking in a report made public on Tuesday.
She found alleged bullying, intimidation and other inappropriate conduct among councillors had gone unchecked, due to fear of conflict or further intimidation.
Councillors had also failed to fully understand the causes of their governance failings or shown a willingness to improve, she said.
Minister Somyurek acknowledged some councillors doing the right thing are swept up in the sacking.
City of Casey Mayor Susan Serey said she was greatly disappointed by the dismissal.
“Councillors have done everything possible to remain a high performing council that continues to make decisions in the interests of our communities,” she said in a statement.
Once administrators are in place, the government says their preference is that residents do not vote until the next council elections in 2024.
The opposition and Greens supported the dumping legislation, but would like elections sooner.
Some crossbenchers in the upper house moved failed amendments that would have allowed that to happen.
Liberal MP Bruce Atkinson also broke ranks with his party to vote against the bill, lamenting the long timeframe.
Mr Somyurek said democracy could be returned sooner if the administrators provide evidence that it is appropriate.