A Horsham Rural City councillor has been accused of "taking a swipe", as the council noted a damning report on the municipality's performance.
At its meeting on Monday night, councillors expressed their disappointment, but not surprise, at the results of the 2020 local government community satisfaction survey.
Councillor David Grimble moved the motion to note the report, with the amendment that it consider the report in line with its draft budget for 2020-21. Councillor John Robinson seconded it.
The motion carried, with Councillor Pam Clarke voting against it on the grounds she did not understand how or why Cr Grimble was linking the motion to the draft budget.
"I do agree this is really bad news for this council," she said.
"Our code of conduct states as councillors we will promote good conduct and behaviour through example. We will also promote confidence in the office. I don't think that's been the case with all of us: I think a lot of the community dissatisfation has been driven by some councillors that go out to meetings and deliberately white ant council decisions because they are not happy with them.
"The disrespect that has been held for this institution, expert legal advice, our experienced CEOs and qualified directors, fellow councillors and our enthusiastic staff... and the democratic process has been breathtaking."
She called for "people that want the community to move forward" to run for election in October.
Councillor David Grimble said Cr Clarke had taken the opportunity to "have a fair swipe".
"Comments made this evening give (attendees) a clear reason why we are in turmoil," he said.
Cr Grimble said he was not surprised by the report.
"Mr Mayor (Mark Radford), you made comments recently around conflict in the chamber and I think that hasn't helped, but I don't think that is the be all and end all of why people have said what they have," he said.
"I note that when (consultant) Mr Zucker presented the findings to council one comments he made was it appeared to be a protest vote.
"We need to do our consultation better that is clearly what they are telling us. It is a difficult thing to do but I believe myself as a councillor struggle to keep abreast of all the issues before the council, and indeed some of this (City to River) work hasn't come across my desk. As a councillor if I don't feel like I'm fully informed, I can understand why the community has reacted in the way it as. It's not about the decisions we make, but how we make them."
Cr Grimble said he was glad the state government had decided to allow local government elections to remain in October, saying there was a need for the community to "reset".
Cr Robinson said the council could not ignore the results, and noted the drop in satisfaction continued a trend that began four years ago.
"We have been on a slippery slope and the community has finally pushed us off a cliff," he said. "All demographics and all key areas... had historically low results.
"Last year Mr Mayor, we were in not quite as bad a position, and we talked about a plan to move forward. A plan was produced, but clearly it is not working. As Cr Grimble said, our expert statistician a fall of this magnitude is a protest vote, and it also features the City to River project."
Cr Robinson said the Council's four year plan was its "opportunity for redemption". He also suggested all relevant information about the City to River plan needed to be put to the community to "legitimise it" and include cost implications.
Cr Josh Koenig also said he was disappointed by not surprised by the results.
The councillors noted customer service was the council's strongest point in the survey, and that the report did not reflect on the work of front of house staff.