An investigation into the sacking of Warrnambool City Council's former CEO almost three years ago is still ongoing with the long wait continuing as the inspectorate faces an increasing workload.
The local government inspectorate inquiry was sparked after Peter Schneider's contract was terminated in July 2020 during a contentious 4-3 vote of councillors behind closed doors.
But a supreme court ruling returned him to the city's top job less than a year later.
With Mr Schneider's contract not being renewed last year and new CEO Andrew Mason to step into the position next week, the delay in finalising the investigation means none of the parties involved will be at the council when it is finally handed down.
Former mayor Tony Herbert had called in Victoria's local government watchdog in the months after the 2020 vote, referring details of some councillors' actions in the lead up to the vote.
In September, three former councillors called for the independent investigation to be finalised.
When contacted last week to check on the progress, the inspectorate didn't give a timeline for the investigation to be finished.
Chief municipal inspector Michael Stefanovic, who is conducting the investigation, said it wasn't appropriate to comment on the case until it was completed.
"We have been conducting a comprehensive investigation into matters at Warrnambool City Council and it is not appropriate to comment on specific cases until this is complete," he said.
"The inspectorate will follow a process to communicate the findings to councils, councillors and the community to the extent permitted under the law."
Mr Stefanovic said inspectorate investigators had seen a steady increase in their workload year-on-year which showed the public expected more from their councils and elected councillors.
The inspectorate's newly released annual report says there was an increased number of allegations about councils and councillors across Victoria to be investigated in 2021-22 it had completed 203.
Investigations were hampered by travel restrictions that were in place due to COVID-19, impacting face-to-face engagement in 2021-22, the report said.
"However, once travel restrictions were relaxed, we headed out to speak to councils to conduct in-person interviews and collect information for investigations," the report says
"Once we were able to travel, we also visited rural and regional councils including Warrnambool..."
Of the investigations carried out by the inspectorate in 2021-22, 34 per cent were allegations about conflict of interest; 17 per cent of allegations were about misuse of position and six per cent were about the release of confidential information.
Mr Stefanovic said an accountable and trustworthy local government sector relied on transparency from elected officials and those employed by councils to deliver services to the public.
"Our oversight and the support of the public in reporting allegations of wrongdoing helps keep our councils and councillors working in the best interests of the communities they serve," he said.
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