Simon Murray had little warning that Armidale Regional Council was facing suspension on Tuesday.
The Armidale mayor said he was informed by email what was happening five minutes before it was made public by the Office of Local Government, when they sent a press release to media outlets.
Of course, while he received little official warning, there had been speculation something like this would happen.
Over recent weeks a group of six councillors called a meeting to terminate the CEO's contract, which saw the council launch legal action against councillors to stop them voting on the issue.
Then the mayor himself said he would welcome the intervention to address the factional divides that have plagued the council.
On Tuesday afternoon the council's media team released a two-sentence statement, which said the letter had been received from the Office of Local Government confirming Ms Hancock's intentions. It said the letter would be put before councillors and a response provided within the required 14-day timeframe.
Cr Murray told The Armidale Express he would put up a mayoral minute at a council meeting next week to deal with the correspondence.
"Then we'll have to have an extraordinary meeting to discuss what the response will be," he said.
He said people were going through shock at the moment and it was too early to tell how the council would respond.
"There's going to be a group of councillors in shock asking 'where did this come from?'. So let it digest and let them start to think 'how can we move forward'," he said.