Justine Linley is unlikely to ever rise for the start of another City of Ballarat council meeting.
The findings of the Ombudsman's report are likely to make her position as CEO difficult to hold onto. For months, councillors have known about the investigation but have been bound by strict secrecy over its contents, unable to discuss it with anyone - even with the subjects of the allegations.
Now the report is public knowledge, a majority of them will probably push reasonably swiftly - as quickly as the Local Government Act, due process and legal advice allows - to end Ms Linley's contract, which had just gone into its final year.
As the sole employee of councillors, she would have undergone her most recent performance review - finalised last month - with the nine elected members of council knowing about the Ombudsman investigation, but with no-one able to speak on the matter.
The Courier understands several councillors have personal sympathy for Ms Linley and may wish to interrogate the culture behind some of the decisions outlined in the report. However, given the reception the report has already had in the wider community, there will presumably be very few - if any - willing to publicly go in to bat for her return.
Deborah Glass's report indicates it is not so much wrongdoing but rather the impact on reputation that matters. A perceived failure of process can potentially lower organisational standards about what is acceptable.
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She writes: "Poor management of conflicts of interest - actual or perceived, deliberate or otherwise - leaves an organisation vulnerable to charges that can fundamentally damage its integrity."
There is no suggestion of any corruption or criminal activity - this won't see IBAC step on board. The report does not suggest that either Ms Linley or Mr Demeo benefited personally.
It will however, be the public perception that many members of council will be most keen to address. While Ms Linley had been widely praised for her recent response to the pandemic, several councillors are known to be unhappy with the progress of some of the municipality's larger projects - reducing the amount of allies she has.
The deletion of her social media accounts may also tacitly acknowledge Ms Linley views her abruptly taken leave as likely to become permanent. It is hard to imagine a way back.
The exact manner of her likely departure will be considered, debated and no doubt the subject of extended legal discussion over the next few weeks. The recent fraught departure of CEOs from councils such as Whittlesea - where the whole council was subsequently sacked - will mean even councillors keen for Ms Linley's exit are likely to tread carefully on how they proceed.
However, they will now be able to discuss the report's findings directly with Ms Linley. How or if those meetings unfold - and the ultimate cost to ratepayers, with the estimated cost of a six-month severance put at around $160,000 - will not immediately be clear. The leading recommendation by the Ombudsman was for councillors to take the matter in hand and take appropriate action by June 2020.
A special council meeting is likely before the end of the month for councillors to decide this course of action.
Mr Demeo's position too will be hard to maintain. Known as a man who gets things done, Mr Demeo is not without admirers in council and in the community. However, one of the report's recommendations specifically addresses the case for disciplinary action against him and that will be hard to ignore.
It is likely to be one of the first tasks to fall on Neville Ivey, thrust into the acting CEO role suddenly on Thursday morning.
Mr Ivey himself will probably find himself in the role as acting CEO for several months. It is still not clear whether COVID-19 will allow for council elections in October. If they do go ahead, the obvious path will be for Mr Ivey to remain in place until then, with the newly elected councillors beginning the long process of recruiting another CEO.
Even if voting is delayed, it would be a bold call indeed from this current council to go through a recruitment process when they only have a short time left in office.
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