COUNCILLORS are being told to "pull their heads in" after two recent code of conduct complaints have cost ratepayers thousands.
Last month, Bathurst Regional Council had to discuss two code of conduct complaints against councillor Alex Christian, lodged by resident Sandy Bathgate and councillor Jess Jennings.
Cr Christian was censured over Mr Bathgate's complaints, but the latter remains unresolved after it was referred back to the independent conduct reviewer.
A source close to council told the Western Advocate that the two code of conduct complaints have come at a cost of around $15,000 to $20,000 already.
"Usually they average around $5000-odd a report to get an investigator up to do it. This is the first time they've come to council, so it's a big report and there was a cost to it," they said.
While general manager David Sherley can't reveal the amount spent so far, noting figures will be available soon, he did confirm that the cost would increase as the investigator had to be engaged again.
The Western Advocate's source said council was paying thousands of dollars for "trivial" matters that they didn't think were serious enough to warrant the level of investigation.
Cr Christian's censure resulted from defamatory comments that appeared on his public Facebook page.
The comments referred to in Mr Bathgate's complaint were made by a user named Robert Throng and remained on Cr Christian's page for at least two weeks.
Cr Christian was also censured over a doctored image of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which council deemed was "violent" and "offensive".
Cr Jennings' complaint remains confidential, but the Western Advocateunderstands it contains allegations related to Cr Christian's interactions with Cr Jennings.
The two councillors are known to butt heads publicly, as seen in September when they fought in the council chamber.
The source close council said the code of conduct complaint was continuation of their "schoolyard" antics.
"What you see here was really just trivial, tit-for-tat, and shouldn't have got to that stage. The complaints should have never been lodged," they said.
"... If you look at what goes on in the state and federal government and how they argue, this is nothing at all, and it's cost ratepayers money."
They said they hope the councillors have learnt a lesson from this situation, and warned against further fighting.
"They all need to pull their heads in a bit," they said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: