WANGARATTA councillor Julian Fidge has threatened to withdraw his support for mayor Rozi Parisotto.
The revelation comes on the eve of tonight’s special meeting behind closed doors to discuss the financial fallout of a successful claim by chief executive Doug Sharp against the council for not providing a safe workplace.
The special meeting has been called by Cr Parisotto following legal opinion sought by Mr Sharp.
Cr Parisotto was elected mayor with the support of Cr Fidge, Cr Paul O’Brien and Cr Noel Amery.
But Cr Fidge warned he could call for a spill of the mayor’s position at the March meeting after claiming the mayor gagged him at the most recent meeting held at Cheshunt when he attempted to speak about the ability of Mr Sharp calling a special meeting.
Cr Fidge has also opposed this week’s revelation a consultant has been engaged to provide support to Mr Sharp and director Ray Park after discussion with the mayor.
The first-term councillor will attend tonight’s special meeting.
Cr Fidge said he could be expelled on conflict of interest grounds given the legal advice sought by Mr Sharp was in response to constant criticisms from him.
“My friends have told me I should go to the meeting,” Cr Fidge said.
“I think they are right.
“I was elected to go to these meetings and as an elected representative I do need to go.
“But they may feel I have a conflict of interest and ask me to leave.
“My problem is if I am not there and I am not speaking for myself, how is natural justice served?”
The outcome of the meeting is closed to the public and media and decisions will remain confidential.
Cr Lisa McInerney will be absent as she is on leave from council due to medical reasons.
Cr Fidge would weigh up what happened at the meeting before deciding whether he withdrew his support for the mayor.
“I don’t want to do that and I am hoping she responds to discussion,” he said.
“I could move the position of mayor become vacant and I think I could get support for that from the Joyce, McInerney, Atkins group.
“If her attempts to gag me continue at the next ordinary meeting then I would foreshadow the position of mayor be declared vacant and let the chips lie where they fall.”
Cr Parisotto defeated Cr Don Joyce for the mayor position last November for a two-year term.