“Believe me when I say we have no alternative to do anything else … this decision was not made lightly,” she said.
Councillor Aziz released a statement on Facebook on Tuesday night after the council made its decision.
“Tonight council approved a further leave of absence for me after I submitted a detailed medical report explaining why I am not able to return to duty at this stage,” the statement said.
“I have every intention of returning to duty, and as soon as I can.
“I am most disappointed at the statement by the mayor that “all councillors around the table” resent granting this leave, apparently because of the allegations made against me at IBAC, but feel they had no option but to do so.
“It is convenient for these councillors to cowardly victimise a colleague when he is absent notwithstanding extremely serious illnesses.
“It proves that I have already been trialled and convicted by all, and by a vicious and dishonest media, well before any allegations have even been tested in court.”
The Casey Residents and Ratepayers Association slammed the decision to grant Cr Aziz leave as further evidence that the council should be sacked.
“Hopefully this is the last nail in the coffin for this council,” secretary Brendan Browne said.
“The people of Casey don’t deserve this.”
Senior state government sources expressed similar views on hearing of the council decision on Tuesday night.
Council insiders said Cr Aziz’ medical documentation claimed he had a heart condition.
In November, the state government appointed a special monitor to assess Casey’s governance. The monitor was due to report back at the end of January, but has been given an extension until next week.
Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek is now expected to sack the council when parliament resumes in a fortnight. Dismissal of a council requires an act of parliament.
Cr Aziz sold his home and left the country in September after he and other councillors were raided by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
He remained overseas through weeks of public hearings that included allegations that property developer John Woodman paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When he answered a telephone call from The Age last month, Cr Aziz said he was in Cairo.
In November, he defended his conduct as a councillor. “I have never, ever in my entire career of 35 years of public service received a bribe for anything, I would never expect it,” Cr Aziz told 3AW.
“I have acted in the best interests of my community. My record in terms of what has been delivered to the people in the City of Casey speaks for itself.”
The state opposition called on Mr Somyurek to sack the council
“It is beyond a joke that Casey council have granted this councillor leave,” local government spokesman Tim Smith said.
“He should be back in Melbourne, not Egypt, to face the music at the anti-corruption commission hearings.”
On Tuesday night, Mr Somyurek said he expected councillors to attend council meetings and “do their job.”
Royce Millar is an investigative journalist at The Age with a special interest in public policy and government decision-making.
Paul is a reporter for The Age.