Councillor conduct hearings into allegations against former mayor John Hedditch cost Brimbank ratepayers almost $20,000.

Two arbitration hearings and a conduct panel, incurred a total cost of $19,116.30, according to the council’s April governance report.

Cr Hedditch was cleared of all allegations.

The hearings were formed after Cr Bruce Lancashire accused Cr Hedditch of conflict of interest and engaging in bullying behaviour.

The scathing findings of the Conduct Panel dismissed all 13 of Cr Lancashire’s allegations and said the council’s internal dispute resolution process for dealing with alleged code of conduct breaches lacked clarity.

The council has since revised its procedures to be more specific in both the process and the timelines involved in each step of the process.

At last week’s council meeting Cr Hedditch welcomed the changes.

“There was an enormous amount of money spent inside council dealing with these issues as they were going on and I guess for me the question is – Would we do it again? Why did it happen?

“And then I look at our code of conduct review and the internal dispute resolution review and [these changes] does strengthen it quite a bit,” he said.

“The inclusion of timelines and various other improvements to the dispute resolution process will help council work through matters like these should they occur again.”