WANGARATTA councillor Lisa McInerney has taken stress-related leave from her public position with yet another controversy brewing next week.
Cr McInerney has taken leave for an unspecified period as the council prepares for another contentious special meeting on Thursday.
She is the only member of the former council to survive last October’s election carnage.
The financial fallout of a successful workplace bullying claim will be one of the items raised at the special meeting to be held behind closed doors.
This could further deepen rifts between councillors and senior staff, including chief executive Doug Sharp.
The meeting has been called by mayor Rozi Parisotto.
Earlier this week Cr Parisotto said it was “business as usual” for her embattled council.
That is despite recent revelations that a Local Government Inspectorate inquiry will start soon.
In addition to that, Cr Julian Fidge is the subject of six complaints from three of his colleagues — Cr McInerney, and councillors Don Joyce and Tammy Atkins.
Cr Parisotto confirmed Cr McInerney had taken leave, but refused to reveal the reasons.
“She is on leave and the reasons are personal,” Cr Parisotto said.
Cr McInerney could not be contacted for comment yesterday, but sources told The Border Mail the reasons for her leave were stress-related.
The Border Mail has also been told other staff members have been granted stress leave as the council deals with a major crisis unfolding on numerous fronts.
The council has obtained legal advice stating Mr Sharp could make a WorkSafe complaint alleging the council has failed to provide him with a safe working environment.
Cr Fidge has been highly critical of Mr Sharp before last year’s elections and since being elected.
The legal advice states an investigation could be launched against the council and Cr Fidge if the council is found to have contravened the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The maximum payout for a breach is $990,000.
Cr Fidge is angered at Mr Sharp’s recent comment that he was in possession of “privileged information” relating to the special meeting called last month to green-light the Co-Store redevelopment.
Cr Fidge said that attempts were being made to gag him from speaking publicly on council issues.