THE longest serving councillor in Swan Hill Rural City Council history has resigned effective Monday (January 14) amid accusations of pecuniary interests and "being pushed out."
Robinvale ward Cr John Katis will not see out the remainder of his term, which was due to end in 2020, after 23 years as councillor.
It comes after Cr Gary Norton tendered his resignation from council just weeks prior, citing personal reasons.
Mr Katis said an accusation from within council of pecuniary interest was the "final straw" which led to his resignation.
"I was accused of having pecuniary interest with regards to the sale of a block of land on Bromley Road," Mr Katis said.
"A developer has expressed interest in buying it off council to build a Subway. As I have said on the record before, I have no problem with any new business coming to town, including Subway — my issue was always with council selling that particular parcel of land, and the community consultation process, or lack of, that council should have followed.
"I do not take kindly to my integrity and honesty being questioned like that." Mr Katis told Sunraysia Daily previously that he "did not believe a fair cross-section of the community" had been consulted about the proposed sale of the land.
"I feel that this accusation is council's way of pushing me out," he said. "My son owns a take-away shop on the other end of town, which I have nothing to do with, but because of that I have been accused of pecuniary interest.
"I think I've always been a thorn in council's side, and they were looking for a reason to get rid of me."
More in the Wednesday, January 16, 2019, edition of The Guardian.