By Evelyn Leckie

City of Whittlesea chief executive Simon Overland has taken indefinite leave from his leadership position, saying his health and safety have been significantly affected due to recent changes in council.

It comes a month ahead of the former police chief commissioner testifying at the ‘Lawyer X’ Royal Commission – an investigation into Victoria Police utilising defence lawyer Nicola Gobbo as an informant on Melbourne gangland criminal activity.

Mr Overland issued a statement today saying interactions between councillors, and interactions between his executive leadership team staff and councillors were not keeping with requirements to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

“Despite many attempts over the past two years, I have been unsuccessful in achieving improvement here, and in many respects the behaviours of some councillors have deteriorated, therefore increasing the risks to health and wellbeing,” Mr Overland 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 and accordingly, as of now, I am taking related leave.”

It’s not the first time tensions have arisen between the chief executive and elected councillors.

Last December, five City of Whittlesea councillors boycotted a monthly meeting amid Simon Overland’s implication in the Lawyer X scandal.

Councillor Kirkham and four other councillors called for Mr Overland to resign due to his involvement in the pending Royal Commission.

Mr Overland said he was unsure when we would return to his role.

For more, see next week’s Review.

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