The Glen Innes council has likely spent more than any other in NSW investigating itself, with last week's council meeting revealing they have spent $140,000 to investigate eight complaints.
An independent reviewer found councilors or the general manager breached the code of conduct all eight times. The council breached conflict of interest rules and rules governing relationships between council officials five times, they said.
The statistics were revealed to councilors in a business paper issued before last week's council meeting. The total estimated cost was $139,162.24.
"We had the worst display of behaviour from a councillor that I've ever seen; we had the worst example of an undeclared declaration of interest as well, and if we have behaviour like that, we'll continue to have code of conduct being submitted," councilor Col Price told the meeting
Deputy Mayor Dianne Newman was concerned about the cost of the investigation and wanted general manager Craig Bennett to develop a report to control future expenses.
Glen Innes Severn spent by far the most of any council in NSW. Runner up was the much larger Blue Mountains Council, which spent $99,253 in 2018 to deal with eight complaints. This year's numbers are not yet finalised.
Five of the Glen Innes complaints are still under investigation by the state government's Office of Local Government. Three have been resolved.
Complaints led to one recommendation council revise its policies or procedures, six recommendations that a person receive additional training, and eight receive additional counselling and ordered five apologies.
Reviewers also recommended that four matters of inappropriate conduct be made public, recommended four times that councilors be formally censured and twice that councillors be referred to the Office of Local Government.
In September the council revealed the cost of the investigation was around $120,000. Councilors resolved not to implement recommendations contained within a report that had been completed in July until receiving a second opinion from the Office of Local Government, and also voted unanimously to keep the process confidential. The Examiner does not know the nature of the apparent code breaches or who was responsible.
In the 2018 reporting year the Glen Innes Severn Council spent just $3700 investigating one complaint. Two complaints were rejected as unsubstantiated at a preliminary stage.