City of Ballarat Councillors held an additional Council meeting earlier this evening to consider their response to a Victorian Ombudsman’s report released last week.
As a result, we have decided to terminate the contract of Chief Executive Officer Justine Linley with immediate effect.
The Victorian Ombudsman’s report contained allegations that two City of Ballarat senior officers may have acted improperly, raising serious concerns with the appropriateness of the Council’s management of the city.
The Councillors first priority was to address the allegations raised in the report regarding the CEO.
While the Ombudsman noted that the evidence did not substantiate all of the allegations involving Ms Linley, the report revealed poor judgement from Ms Linley on a number of occasions.
Councillors believe the City of Ballarat must be led by someone who conducts themselves at the highest of standards and in a manner consistent with the city’s stated code of conduct.
The Councillors have also lost confidence in Ms Linley and in the best interests of the community, feel that her position as CEO is no longer tenable. As as a result we have terminated her contract.
The second priority for Councillors was to discuss the other issues raised in the report regarding the general practices of the City of Ballarat. To that end, the Council has agreed it will commence a process to appoint an interim CEO and then work with them to conduct reviews of the current procurement, credit card and HR practices.
Councillors will also ensure a longer‐term focus is placed on good governance practices that ensures the City of Ballarat continues to deliver for the people of Ballarat.
The Council would like to thank the community for its patience and understanding as it worked through its consideration of the report and took the time necessary to ensure fair and due process for all involved.