Businessman Peter Hulin has spectacularly resigned from the Warrnambool City Council, saying he can no longer work with his fellow councillors and an organisation that he says isn't "open or transparent".
His shock departure comes as Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass has launched an investigation into credit card use at the council.
He said the council talked often about being "open and transparent" as per its vision and objectives statement.
"No longer can I tolerate officers' reports that are not in keeping with this vision," he said.
He claimed they were "false, misleading, incomplete and lacking in detail".
"There is, in my opinion, a continuing lack of vision from senior management and a demonstrable unwillingness for change," he said.
He said an example of this was the fishing pontoon which will be installed along the Merri River.
He said platypus and rakai, a type of water rat, would be impacted by the platform, and in a council report he never saw any information about the impact on the species.
"If you are putting in infrastructure which will kill an endangered species, who the hell wants to be part of that?" he asked.
"Things like that just bring you to a decision that no normal, functioning, common sense council could make.
"I feel that these decisions are just like people that don't believe in climate change. If people knew we were doing this type of stuff we wouldn't be the most liveable city in Australia, but the most laughed at."
He said the removal of general business from council meetings was "an absolutely horrendous attack on democracy".
"Councillors are not allowed to speak on their own behalf and on behalf of the people that have elected them," he said.
"It's not acceptable to be able to say we can do it in a council briefing.
"Nobody hears that. The media don't know about it."
He said he had constantly been condemned or blocked by his fellow councillors when he tried to bring up motions over the past 11 years.
"Inside people is a thing called integrity. I've got to the point where I have to exit this non-functioning charade of a council," he said.
"I wish to thank the citizens who supported me and believed in me over the past 11 years while representing them. I apologise to them. For my own health I cannot cope with this toxic environment any longer. It's not fair on my wife or myself."
He believed there was bullying within the council and "regular reports of toxicity in the workplace".
"That is not acceptable to me," he said.
He said councillors with state or federal government political ambitions should step down from local government.
"That has put a poison and a strong divide in our council," he said.
"Until we remove that we will never go forward."
He praised chief executive officer Peter Schneider, saying he was a "great guy with tremendous ability".
He also praised the work of councillor Sue Cassidy.
"I believe she has the good of the city at heart and works tirelessly to get good results for our people in the city," he said.
He said he was very proud of the city centre renewal project, saying accessibility had improved.
"It's so safe and civilised now," he said.
Warrnambool City Council has been contacted for comment.
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