A councillor conduct panel has dismissed complaints against former Brimbank mayor John Hedditch.
The panel found the complaints, relating to conflict of interest and bullying behaviour – made by fellow councillor Bruce Lancashire – did not amount to serious misconduct and that there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.
During extraordinary scenes last month, two councillors were taken to hospital by ambulance after experiencing medical issues while making submissions to the panel.
Mayor Lucinda Congreve last week said the council remained united.
“Brimbank City Council is pleased that the process has concluded and that the two participants can now move forward,” she said.
“The application considered by the panel did not impact on the day-to-day functioning of Brimbank City Council. Council’s service provision to the community was not affected in any way.
“Despite this process, all Brimbank city councillors have remained united in working in the best interests of the community.
“When I was elected mayor, I made a commitment to exceptional governance – and together with my fellow councillors, I will ensure this continues.”
Cr Congreve lamented the fact that the hearing wasn’t kept behind closed doors.
“Brimbank City Council would also like to express its disappointment in the strongest terms regarding the public sharing of confidential information relating to the councillor conduct panel, particularly allegations of misuse of conflict of interest provisions,” she said.
“This action had the effect of airing unsubstantiated and untested information which, apart from being proven to have no foundations in the panel’s findings, was personally damaging and distressing to parties in the process.”
The panel said the council’s internal dispute resolution process for dealing with alleged code of conduct breaches lacked clarity.
Cr Congreve said the council was reviewing the process.