WANGARATTA councillors were officially sacked at midnight last night with municipal inspector Peter Stephenson appointed as administrator until the end of next month.
Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell will meet the former councillors at Wangaratta today.
The act to dismiss the council received royal assent yesterday with a Governor-in-Council confirming Mr Stephenson as the stand-in chief until a full panel of administrators is appointed.
“The mayor and councillors elected last October cease to hold office at midnight tonight,” Mrs Powell said.
“The interim administrator takes office in place of the council, effective tomorrow, Wednesday, September 25 2013.”
Mrs Powell said she would meet the councillors this afternoon.
She said the decision to dismiss the council had been difficult but it had been necessary.
“The removal of an elected council is a last resort, exercised only in the most exceptional cases where no appropriate alternative will suffice,” she said.
She said Mr Stephenson, who put wrote the final report that led to the dismissal, had the experience to act as the interim administrator.
“I am confident Mr Stephenson has the necessary local government experience and hands-on knowledge of the council to take on this important role in the interim,” she said.
Administrators will replace the councillors until the elections in 2016.
Mrs Powell said when she announced the sacking a week ago a “toxic workplace environment” had developed and the council had failed to meet legal obligations to provide a safe workplace.