Under-fire Mayor: 'I'm bullish - I am not a bully'

Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons says he's been unfairly singled out in a damning report. Photo / Getty Images
Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons says he's been unfairly singled out in a damning report. Photo / Getty Images

Geelong paparazzo-turned-Mayor Darryn Lyons says he's been unfairly singled out in a damning report that identifies a culture of bullying and harassment in the council.

The Victorian Parliament is set to sack the entire council, although Lyons says the necessary legislation may not pass the state's Parliament.

"I'm disgusted and upset at the 115-page inquiry report that very much solely singled out and identified the Mayor," Lyons told the Nine Network.

"The fact of the matter is all other identities have been completely covered up in this."

Legislation to sack the council needs to pass Parliament but is being held up as the state Government and opposition parties negotiate over a future council election date and new mayoral voting model.

"I'm pretty sure it won't get through the Upper House," Lyons said.

An independent report made public on Tuesday details a list of abusive incidents involving Lyons and other councillors - often directed at staff.

"F*** me, I'm the Mayor, I don't need to be meeting with someone one week and then meeting with them the next," Lyons told one staff member.

He threatened to close down a local business after yelling at its staff, before later telling investigators he did not remember the incident.

Lyons also asked if outside staff were "f****** dumb" and threatened the council's chief executive with defamation if bullying allegations were made public.

Today the Mayor defended his behaviour by insisting: "I'm bullish - I am not a bully."

He insisted there'd been a culture of bullying throughout the organisation dating back 20 years - well before he became mayor three years ago.

"There are many situations and many people involved in this long, long before my time," Lyons told the Nine Network, claiming the focus on his behaviour was a party-political push to remove him from office.

"A lot of it has been blown out of proportion."

The Mayor did admit his "razzamatazz" and in-your-face style had not been to everyone's liking.

And he blamed a November incident when he verbally abused one of his own staff - who later took extended stress leave - on a "bad day at work" following "some pretty grieving news from London".

As for his use of foul language generally Lyons said: "I suppose the f-word that's been mentioned throughout the report is F for frustration and trying to get things done".

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