Quit now, we’re scared - council plea to ex-cop
SIMON Overland is under pressure to quit his $400,000 a year Melbourne council job, amid safety fears following a death threat to the former cop.
Four of 11 Whittlesea councillors have called for him to step down as council chief executive amid a royal commission into Victoria’s Lawyer X police informant scandal.
Councillors Ricky Kirkham, Alahna Desiato, Norm Kelly and Caz Monteleone say that Mr Overland, who will be a key figure in the probe, needed to step aside for the sake of the ratepayers. They plan to move to sack him at the next council meeting if he refuses to quit.
But Whittlesea Mayor Lawrie Cox has lined up behind the former Victoria police commissioner, saying he was a victim of “party politics.”
Cr Desiato said she was concerned that criminals would target Mr Overland at a council meeting. “He should resign,” she said. “This puts councillors and staff in an awkward position.”
Cr Kelly said Mr Overland could not “do his duties” while being the subject of a royal commission and that he had upset some dangerous people.
“We’re not talking about
We’re not talking about people who have stolen a packet of chewy from a milk bar, these are hardened criminals.
people who have stolen a packet of chewy from a milk bar, these are hardened criminals,” he said. Mr Overland was a deputy commissioner at Victoria Police when a gangland lawyer was used as a police informer in a desperate attempt to end Melbourne’s bloody underworld war. He held regular meetings with Lawyer X and allegedly dismissed concerns about using her as a source.
But The Advertiser revealed this week Lawyer X received a $2.9 million payout from Victoria Police because senior officers were “very worried” that she would reveal how they user her.
She provided information that led to the arrest or charge of 386 people, including Tony Mokbel. All those convicted using her information, which was gained under legal privilege, could appeal their cases and potentially seek compen- sation. Mr Overland has a stranglehold grip on the council operations, dictating that all councillors speak directly to him, not council staff.
Cr Kirkham said Mr Overland should walk.
“I believe he should stand down or resign,” he said.
“I was mayor during the recruitment process of Simon and I raised concerns. After he was appointed in August, the council received death threats following the public announcement of his role. As CEO, he still has a public role. “It’s totally distracting and I’m hoping he see what he’s doing is problematic or I believe we should force the decision.”
Mr Monteleone told The Advertiser that he was concerned for his safety.
“I believe there should be a safety assessment, I’d have to assess whether I would go to meetings,” he said. An email from Cr Kirkham to Mr Overland, seen by The Advertiser, demands he explain his actions to the council and raises concerns that staff may not be safe if the former police boss attends events.
The email, sent on Thursday at 9.10am, claims that council staff have received death threats on behalf of Mr Overland, with some councillors refusing to attend events if he was there.
NORM KELLY TOP JOB: Simon Overland outside his Melbourne home.