News State Victoria News Geelong Council officially sacked

Geelong Council officially sacked

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The Geelong City Council has been officially sacked in the wake of a report that laid bare allegations of widespread bullying and dysfunction.

Councillors, including high-profile Mayor Darryn Lyons, were removed from power after the Victorian Upper House passed a bill to dismiss the entire council.

The state government had been pushing to keep the council in the hands of administrators until 2020, but the Opposition and Greens would not allow the bill to pass the Upper House without an earlier election.

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The government confirmed they would not oppose the proposed amendments for the election to be held in October 2017, and the legislation eventually passed following an afternoon of debate.

Geelong-based Liberal MP Andrew Katos told Parliament he hoped the deep-seated culture in Geelong City Council would be cleaned out before the next election.

darren lyons
Lyons has been criticised for his foul-mouthed tirades. Photo: AAP/Supplied

“It hasn’t just been a toxic culture amongst the councillors, it has been a toxic culture within the organisation,” he said.

“Eighteen months is plenty of time for the administrators to get in there and weed out the bad apples.”

Mr Lyons was at parliament earlier in the day to meet with five Upper House MPs to plead his case.

An independent report tabled in parliament accused Cr Lyons, as well as other councillors and senior staff, of widespread bullying, intimidation and dysfunction.

There is nothing to stop the councillors from contesting the fresh elections next year.

Mr Lyons said he was still contemplating his future, and planned on taking a break from politics.

“I’m looking forward to getting away and having a break and looking forward to, if a commissioner is appointed, that they will be the right ones for the citizens because that is my fear that Geelong could really go backwards,” he said.

“Contrary to what some doomsayers might tell you, Geelong is a far better place now than it was when I was voted mayor.

“Facts have been twisted and tarnished. The real villains holding back City Hall and Geelong have escaped unscathed.

“People championing Geelong have been vilified and hounded from office.”

Mr Lyons said he had revitalised the city’s CBD and it was “flourishing” in “health, education, scientific, research, commerce and new manufacturing” following the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector.

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