RATEPAYERS have foot a $60,000 bill for complaints made against Wagga councillors in the last 12 months, which some found extremely troubling.
There were 11 code of conduct complaints lodged to Wagga City Council with the investigation process costing $60,378. However, of those complaints, five are still yet to be finalised.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said he was concerned that a large sum of money has been spent for a process that is "very ineffective".
He said the council was pleading to the state government to give "some teeth" to the code of conduct process in the hopes it will deter councillors from breaching the code in the future.
"Some councillors consider it a badge of honour ... and I find it alarming that attitude exists," he said.
This year's bill has been an increase on the previous financial year of 2018-19 where $42,830 had been spent to investigate 13 code of conduct complaints lodged to the council. In the 2017-18 financial period, only one complaint was made for no cost to ratepayers.
Former councillor Kevin Poynter said the city's councillors really need to look at their behaviour because the rise in complaints and the cost to ratepayers is a real concern.
It is even more troubling, he said that councillors breaching the code of conduct policy are not held particularly accountable for their actions.
"It doesn't appear that all councillors take a code of conduct breach seriously and that's a problem," he said.
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Mr Poynter said the problem however, needs attention by the state government, which has the power to review the existing process and create tougher responses.
He added the habitual breakers of the code of conduct need to be identified and asked to explain the reason for breaching the code so often.
"There are always going to be some individuals who game the system," he said.
"The consequences for those individuals, particularly repeat offenders need to be commensurate with their behaviour.
"But all councillors need to look at their behaviour and look to how they conduct themselves. What they want to achieve is not more important than their position as a leader in our community."
Wagga's Donna Argus, who was a former councillor, said she was "shocked" that more than $60,000 was spent by the council in 12 months to investigate code of conduct complaints.
As a ratepayer, she said she was prepared to pay for investigations when there has been a serious breach by a councillor to ensure they were held accountable for their actions.
However, Ms Argus said she would "resent the fact" that ratepayers could be paying a bill for a complaint lodged on the grounds of two councillors, who just cannot get along.
The Office of Local Government requires councils to report the number of complaints and cost to ratepayers each year. Councillors will receive a report on this matter at Monday night's meeting.