GARY Arnold’s four-year reign as Moira Council chief executive has ended in dramatic fashion.
The council executed his sacking, effective immediately, in a confidential session at the end of its monthly meeting at Nathalia on Monday night.
Mr Arnold’s departure comes a month after he was informed he would need to re-apply for his job when his contract expired in February.
His removal is set to be followed by the deposing of mayor Brian Keenan, who has been a loyal supporter of Mr Arnold.
Director Peter Bertolus has been appointed acting chief executive and he and Cr Keenan had the job of officially informing staff yesterday of Mr Arnold’s departure.
“They were gob-smacked,” Cr Keenan said.
“I think it is an awful thing to be quite candid.
“He is very highly regarded among his peers and I felt he did a very honourable and honest job with the shire.
“But it is a democracy and numbers mean everything.”
Cr Keenan wouldn’t divulge details, but Cr Peter Mansfield moved the motion for his removal, which was supported 5-4.
Mr Arnold initially worked at Moira Council in 2003-04 as a director after being Hume Council’s general manager for four years and chief executive of Wangaratta Council for five months.
He was a Wodonga Council director before returning to Moira as a director in 2007.
Mr Arnold was then promoted to chief executive in 2009 after Gavin Cator moved to Wodonga.
Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell has been informed of the shock development at Moira which follows her decision to sack Wangaratta Council last month.
Mr Arnold was on a collision course with members of Moira’s new guard of councillors when they successfully overturned a proposed 6 per cent rate rise.
Crs Keenan and Ed Cox pushed for the 6 per cent rise to remain and opposed the decision to advertise Mr Arnold’s position and his termination.
Moira was also in the spotlight for the events surrounding the exit of former chief financial officer Adrian Pawar and last week’s departure of director Paul Squires.
Mr Squires was being touted as a potential replacement for Mr Arnold.
The council will begin advertising for a new chief executive within a month and hopes to make an appointment by Christmas.
Attempts to contact Mr Arnold for comment were unsuccessful.