A regional Victorian councillor has announced she will resign as Mayor after earlier proposing to continue in the role while working full-time in western Queensland.
Ararat Rural City Mayor Glenda McLean came under intense pressure from fellow councillors to resign after revelations that she has been working fly-in fly-out at the North West Health Service in Mount Isa while still claiming approximately $57,000 as a mayoral allowance.
Speaking on ABC Statewide Drive Victoria, Cr McLean said she will resign as Mayor but is still considering whether she will also quit as a councillor.
Cr McLean said since requesting a meeting with Victoria’s Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz, she had received advice from friends to resign without trying to “bargain”.
“I don’t want to cause anymore pain and angst, particularly to the councillors that have supported me,” she said.
“I can understand people getting angry, but the thing is I’m in transition and I hadn’t made a permanent commitment to anywhere.”
She also said she had been a targeted by “interest groups” over her push to review and change Ararat’s rating strategy.
“I seem to be the target of a vitriolic, vindictive and horrible campaign by some vested interests about the rates debate,” she told Drive.
Cr McLean denied she had damaged the reputation of Ararat City Council and the broader community, and had been a “workaholic” since joining the council.
“I think the city of Ararat is a complex organism, a complex place, it’s had history of disputes, of blaming,” she said.
“I’ve worked very hard as a councillor and I’m particularly interested in certain pursuits which are different to previous mayors and they don’t include running around the countryside having a free lunch.”
Cr McLean said she has been paying for her own flights to Queensland.
She remains entitled to up to $20,231 in councillor allowance.
End of ‘harrowing week’ for Ararat
Fellow councillor Bill Braithwaite proposed a no-confidence motion in Cr McLean at Tuesday’s general meeting.
He said that he is “extremely happy and relieved” that she decided to resign.
“We’ve appeared as a laughing stock and the credibility of Ararat in the local government family has been questioned,” he said.
“This is something the Mayor created on her own. This is not the fault of the remaining councillors.
“The rest of council is working well … this could actually be a healing process where the rest of council comes together.”
Cr Braithwaite said he wished Cr McLean well, but he remained unsatisfied with her handling of the situation and that she must step down from council entirely.
“As a councillor you have many duties still,” he said.
“I have at least four or five committees that I sit on and some of these committees meet on seven o’clock at night on a Tuesday. How can a councillor discharge those duties from Mount Isa?”