ALP disendorses mayor

By Evelyn Leckie

CITY of Whittlesea Mayor Emilia Lisa Sterjova has been ousted by the Australian Labor Party two months into her leadership role.

She was disendorsed due to crossing caucus lines and accepting a non-Labor vote to assume the role as mayor.

Cr Lawrie Cox told the Review the mayor was disendorsed on January 23.

The Australian reported Labor launched a confidential disciplinary procedure in December amidst chief executive Simon Overland taking indefinite leave due to health and safety reasons.

Last year, the City of Whittlesea council had six out of 11 Labor-endorsed councillors, which included Cr Sterjova.

Six out of 11 votes meant the caucus had the majority to agree or knock back council items together.

It’s understood Ms Sterjova had crossed to the non-Labor side during the nomination process to become council’s 2020 mayor.

The expulsion comes at a rocky time for the City of Whittlesea which sacked former chief executive Simon Overland while he was on sick leave last year.

Mr Overland specified in November that interactions between councillors, and interactions between his executive leadership team and councillors, were not keeping with requirements to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

Mr Overland was also preparing to testify in the Lawyer X Royal Commission around the time he was sacked.

The commission is currently investigating Victoria Police’s use of a defence lawyer Nicola Gobbo as an informant while Mr Overland was the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner.

Acting chief executive Kevin Spiller, who replaced Mr Overland also announced his departure at the end of this month, citing personal reasons and other business commitments.

On December 17 last year, the Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek appointed a monitor to overlook council operations until June.

The monitor, Yehudi Blacher is due to deliver his interim report on council operations on March 27.

Cr Sterjova was contacted for comment but did not respond.