Vic council could stand down after charges

 9news.com.au  7/18/2017 12:25:00 AM   

A group of councillors in regional Victoria could stand themselves down after the council's chief executive was charged with 41 fraud and conflict-of-interest offences.

Central Goldfields Shire Council chief executive Mark Johnston was last week charged under the Local Government Act with two counts of conflict-of-interest, 34 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and five counts of false accounting.

It is understood many of the fraud charges relate to the use of his corporate credit card.

An "angry" Mayor Geoff Lovett has called an emergency closed council meeting for Wednesday and said the councillors would canvas their options, including standing down.

"It's one of the options we will look at," he told AAP on Tuesday.

"I met with Mark yesterday morning and before I was officially notified he in fact told me that it was imminent that charges were going to be laid.

"There had been an investigation going on ... but to actually hear the words it came as a very large surprise."

Johnston is listed to appear at the Maryborough Magistrates' Court on August 31.

The Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate on Monday said the charges were laid after a long and complex investigation with several matters dating back a number of years.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017

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