Whittlesea mayor fights back

Deputy mayor Alahna Desiato, mayor Emilia Lisa Sterjova and Cr Caz Monteleone. 206767_02

Laura Michell

Whittlesea mayor Emilia Lisa Sterjova has claimed the governance issues at the council are the result of the “bullying” of two councillors, and has not ruled out standing for council again in 2024.

Cr Sterjova called a press conference last Thursday ahead of the bill to dismiss the council being passed by State Parliament.

She was flanked by deputy mayor Alahna Desiato and Cr Caz Monteleone. Cr Mary Lalios was present but chose not to participate.

During the press conference, Crs Sterjova and Monteleone repeatedly stated they believed two councillors were to blame for the issues at the council, and that they alone should be sacked.

Cr Sterjova said she had been subjected to bullying by the two councillors since her election as mayor on November 7 last year.

Crs Sterjova, Monteleone and Desiato refused to concede that they were partly to blame for the council’s dismissal, insisting only two councillors had behaved inappropriately.

Cr Monteleone refused to publicly name the councillors.

Cr Sterjova was also critical of monitor Yehudi Blacher’s report, labelling it as “rushed” and said his recommendation to sack the council was “flawed”.

She questioned why the monitor had not waited for the introduction of the new Local Government Act which allows for the dismissal of individual councillors, instead of sacking the whole council.

In a legal letter to Mr Blacher, Cr Sterjova said he had made allegations against her, which were “unfair” and “not based on facts”.