Wagga councillor Rod Kendall has told the NSW Supreme Court that former council general manager Alan Eldridge should have "known intimately" how important it was to avoid any conflict of interest.
Mr Eldridge is suing Wagga City Council for more than $1 million over claims he was unfairly dismissed in 2017.
In response to a question from the council's senior counsel, Robert Goot, Cr Kendall said Mr Eldridge's delay in reporting his interests "surprised" him and he had never seen it happen before with a senior officer.
Wagga deputy mayor Dallas Tout also testified on Friday that he found it "inexcusable" for Mr Eldridge to have missed a deadline to submit a register of his pecuniary interests.
Cr Tout told the court Mr Eldridge had also been given a "first and final warning" over an "incident at Wagga airport", revealed in court documents as an altercation with a former councillor, prior to him being stood down and investigated over conflict of interest claims.
Crs Tout, Rod Kendall and Vanessa Keenan testified during the Supreme Court sitting at Wagga courthouse that their votes to terminate Mr Eldridge's contract without granting 38 weeks' pay were based on legal advice.
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In response to Mr Eldridge's senior counsel John Fernon, Cr Tout agreed that prior to Mr Eldridge standing down it appeared he had not "done anything wrong" but "the best way forward was to have an investigation".
Cr Tout also agreed that media reporting about Mr Eldridge "might have" been the "catalyst" for the general manager being investigated and subsequently dismissed.
During evidence, Cr Keenan denied Mr Fernon's suggestion that she joined with Cr Dan Hayes and used the conflict of interest as "an excuse to get rid of Mr Eldridge" because their "dispute" with him over access to senior staff had reached a "volatile flashpoint".
"It was more than just agitation by the local press. Community figures were saying that Mr Eldridge's position was untenable," Cr Keenan said.
The council's former people and culture director, Laurie Flack, told the court he had an "emphatic" belief that Mr Eldridge was "never" given permission to take paid leave from the council to perform outside work.
Mr Flack said he overheard phone calls while travelling by car with Mr Eldridge to a woman described as his "financial officer" and with a man referred to as his "project manager".
"I said to Alan 'I thought you cut ties with your businesses' and he said 'I have'," Mr Flack told the court.
Mr Flack admitted parts of this evidence were not in his prior affidavit, including verbally advising Mr Eldridge not to pay for the woman's dinner on a council credit card, but said "I stand by it".
The hearing was adjourned until Monday morning.
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