Wagga councillor Dan Hayes has told the NSW Supreme Court that he supported terminating former general manager Alan Eldridge's employment for "serious misconduct" and doing so without 38 weeks' notice was "fair and reasonable".
Cr Hayes appeared as a witness on day three of the Supreme Court's hearings at Wagga courthouse on Thursday.
Mr Eldridge's senior counsel John Fernon asked Cr Hayes about his decision during an extraordinary council meeting on May 29, 2017 concerning the general manager's employment.
Cr Hayes said he voted to summarily dismiss Mr Eldridge due to conflict of interest issues as well as his delays in responding to contamination at a business being "not acceptable" and his plan to limit communication between councillors and senior staff being "substandard to council's policy".
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Mr Fernon asked Cr Hayes about circumstances where it would be "fair and reasonable" to dismiss a general manager but still provide them with notice.
Cr Hayes said the circumstances might be "unsatisfactory performance" or "a different vision for Wagga's future" that was not shared by councillors.
Cr Hayes said he could not recall sending an email to mayor Greg Conkey that stated Mr Eldridge "should not show up to work tomorrow" unless the conflict of interest claims were addressed.
"Did you have concerns about the council's perception in the media and in the public?" Mr Fernon asked.
"They were concerns that I shared," Cr Hayes said.
Deputy mayor Dallas Tout told the court he and then-mayor Rod Kendall made an "informal approach" to Mr Eldridge in 2015 about taking up the vacant general manager's position due to Mr Eldridge's experience on the council's audit and risk committee.
Cr Tout agreed with Mr Fernon that he wrote a sworn affidavit with the "understanding" he was doing so to "support" the council in its legal fight with Mr Eldridge.
Cr Tout said he had advised Cr Conkey that Mr Eldridge's credit card use raised "red flags" as he had not provided documentation to go with his expenses.
"I suggest to you that when you wrote Mr Eldridge 'treated council's money as if it was his own', that you were overstating to help the council," Mr Fernon said.
"It was a statement of facts," Cr Tout responded.
The council's governance manager,Ingrid Hensley, denied Mr Fernon's suggestion that she had been "prejudiced" against Mr Eldridge and denied she advised he lose access to his work phone while stood down due to a belief he was "trying to get away with things".
The hearing will continue on Friday morning with Cr Tout due to continue giving evidence.
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