Melbourne's top firefighter Dan Stephens has walked away from his five-year contract, fuelling further turmoil among Victoria's fire services.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade chief officer, who moved from the UK to Melbourne for the role, resigned on Friday following uncertainty surrounding the leadership of the new Fire Rescue Victoria agency.
Mr Stephens reportedly took indefinite leave last month after the state government refused to back him for the top job at FRV, having passed its controversial fire service reforms.
MFB board president Jasmine Doak told staff the news on Friday.
"Dan Stephens has tendered his resignation as Chief Officer of MFB, effective today," Ms Doak said, before thanking him for his leadership and service.
"I know that Dan held our MFB people in the very highest regard and was proud to lead MFB in our work serving the Victorian community.
"Dan brought stability and focus to the organisation during a crucial period and we are now well positioned to move forwards towards FRV."
Mr Stephens only served one year of his five-year contract.
Deputy chief officer Greg Leach has been appointed as interim chief officer and organisation boss until the MFB shifts to the new FRV organisation.
Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville also thanked Mr Stephens.
"He has shown great commitment to the Victorian community and leaves the MFB in a strong position during a time of change," she said.
Opposition spokesman for emergency services Brad Battin said Mr Stephens had wanted to "improve the toxic culture in the fire services".
"He could never achieve the goal of improving the culture as the government owes too much to United Fire Firefighters secretary Peter Marshall who it would appear had wanted Mr Stephens gone for months," he said in a statement.
"Dan Stephens' resignation is a huge loss to Victoria's fire services and to any attempt to ensure all firefighters have a safe and bully-free work environment."
The state's fire services debate had raged for years, sparking division between the volunteer and career sectors until the new agency was formed.
Mr Stephens once previously offered to resign after racking up seven speeding fines over a few weeks, which the MFB board refused.
Australian Associated Press