Julian Fidge stares down rivals

Julian Fidge

Julian Fidge

THE long-awaited showdown between Dr Julian Fidge and other former Wangaratta councillors in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is headed for another adjournment.

Dr Fidge had been expecting to answer 59 complaints made against him by other ex-councillors including mayor Rozi Parisotto, Tammy Atkins, Don Joyce and Lisa McInerney in a two-day hearing beginning in Melbourne yesterday.

But earlier this week, Dr Fidge was notified 35 of the complaints against him had been dropped by the joined parties made up of the other former councillors.

Those complaints dropped included potential breaches of the Local Government Act.

Dr Fidge said last night the case was turned on its head when he was told on Tuesday only 24 complaints remained.

He attended the hearing alongside Ms Parisotto and Mr Joyce, but Ms Atkins and Ms McInerney weren’t present.

“All of the serious ones are gone,” Dr Fidge said.

“They were breaches of the Local Government Act and I was very relieved because they were weighing heavily on my mind.

“It has been very good for me.”

Dr Fidge said a further adjournment was expected to be confirmed today.

The legal expenses for both parties are being covered by the council’s insurance.

“It has really been a terrible waste of ratepayers’ money,” Dr Fidge said.

In the lead-up to the council’s dismissal, Dr Fidge was suspended for two months by a councillor conduct panel.

The panel accused him of bullying and intimidatory behaviour and having an agenda to force chief executive Doug Sharp to quit.

But he was able to secure a stay on the ban at VCAT pending an appeal.

The revised complaints relate to various comments made by Dr Fidge to media outlets including The Border Mail, emails to councillors and the former council management team and his Facebook page.

Ms Atkins declined to comment when contacted last night.