FORMER Wodonga mayor Mark Byatt has stepped down from his eight years on council and avoided another barrage of conflict of interest claims he had to contend with when first elected.
Cr Byatt confirmed he would be stepping down from council, effective immediately, after recently accepting a position with Regional Development Victoria, a state government-funded body, working directly with 11 councils in the Hume region.
When elected to council in 2008, Cr Byatt was general manager of Destination Albury-Wodonga, which was funded by both councils and he regularly had to defend conflict of interest claims with his elected role.
He resigned from the position 12 months later, but repeatedly denied there was a conflict.
Cr Byatt said on Thursday there was a conflict of interest between his new job and role as a councillor.
"I could have chosen to stay on," he said.
"But I felt this was a very prudent action given I've got to work with the other 11 local government areas.
"It is appropriate and the right thing to do and it disconnects any perception that there is a conflict of interest."
Cr Byatt said he would also be resigning from the Municipal Association of Victoria and Rail Freight Alliance.
Wodonga Council will have sufficient councillors for a quorum at its June meeting despite the immediate departure of Cr Byatt and Cr Eric Kerr taking leave of absence to contest the July 2 federal election.
Mayor Anna Speedie said there would be no by-election to replace Cr Byatt given local government elections would be held in October.
Cr Byatt listed the construction of The Cube and WAVES swimming pool as two important milestones in his time on council.
"I called The Cube Wodonga the stake in the sand," he said.
"It was the turning point for the development and growth of this city.
"It was an important mark in our history."
Cr Byatt defended the timing of his announcement to quit.
"It has been a thoroughly thought through communications plan to make this announcement today," he said.
"To have it talked about as another council comms bungle is outrageous."
Cr Speedie said Cr Byatt had made a big impact as a councillor.
"Mark has substantially contributed to this community," she said.