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Administrator appointed in wake of council murder probe

An interim administrator has been appointed to keep the functions of a country Victorian council going after it was sacked in the wake of a murder probe.

The Andrews government on Friday announced John Tanner would take the reins at Moira Shire Council after a commission of inquiry recommended it be immediately dismissed.

Mr Tanner would take on the role for three months and work to ensure the functions of the council continued effectively ahead of a panel of administrators being appointed, Local Government Minister Melissa Horne said.

Mr Tanner and Frances O'Brien KC completed the review of the council.

"John Tanner and the future panel of administrators will ensure council services are delivered effectively for the community and the health and wellbeing of staff is prioritised," Ms Horne said.

"It is vital that every council properly represents its community.

"That was not the case in Moira Shire - the findings of the commission of inquiry demanded drastic action be taken in the interests of local residents and businesses."

Mr Tanner was previously an Ararat commissioner, Brimbank administrator, and a member of the Ministerial Panel Local Government Rating System Review.

Legislation was introduced to parliament to remove the council this week, after the commission examined issues including the murder, governance concerns, flood mitigation efforts, construction of major infrastructure, the transportation of asbestos and other issues such as health and safety.

Former council worker Andrew Robert Paterson is serving a minimum 21-year sentence after pleading guilty to the murder of council operations manager Rick Devlin in August 2021.

He wrongly believed Mr Devlin was involved in a harassment campaign against him at work, although the men did not have day-to-day contact.

The commission's report said there was good reason to think Mr Devlin's death may have been preventable and the environment of the Nathalia depot Mr Paterson worked at was fundamentally unsafe.

"These events and their tragic outcomes represent, at many levels, a catastrophic governance failure," the report stated.

The commission has referred evidence to the coroner about events related to Mr Devlin's death.

The panel of administrators would ensure good governance practices were restored ahead of an election to replace the councillors in 2028, Ms Horne said.