There is a new push for a stronger code of conduct governing the behaviour of Tasmania's aldermen and councillors.
Under state legislation, councils are required to enforce a code and breaches are investigated by one of two different local government panels.
The code covers issues such as behaviour, conflicts of interest and receiving gifts.
But the Local Government Association's Allan Garcia says it is a "toothless tiger".
"In effect there are no penalties, it's almost a voluntary process from those who have been found to be wanting in regards to the outcome of their hearing," he said.
"If they choose not to adhere to it, then so be it.
"There is very little the panel can do at all, save for the chair of the panel writing to that person saying they're very displeased at the fact and that's about as far as it can go."
Mr Garcia says the panel should be given the power to enforce sanctions.
"If it's going to continue to exist in its form, we would prefer to see it have more teeth and if it's not going to be given more teeth than perhaps it needs to be referred to a body that does have more teeth," he said.
Two years ago Burnie Alderman, now Mayor, Steve Kons was asked to apologise for describing fellow Alderman Malcolm Ryan as a "complete loser" who would be "sleeping under a bridge drinking Fruity Lexia casks" if he did not have an alderman's allowance.
Alderman Ryan asked the State Government to intervene after Alderman Kons refused to apologise.
Just recently, Hobart City Council Alderman Helen Burnet was cautioned by the local government standards watchdog, for referring to fellow Alderman Marti Zucco as "recalcitrant."
Alderman Zucco says he is now considering legal action after Alderman Burnet said the comments were a statement of truth.
He is also backing calls for penalties but wants tougher sanctions, including unpaid suspension from council.
"At the end of the day, there is a type of behaviour that's acceptable and a type of behaviour that is not," he said.
"I don't say that all of us are perfect or not perfect, but if a person does the wrong thing and is not willing to apologise in an appropriate manner and then the matter goes before a code of conduct or a hearing, then the penalties should be harsh."
Alderman Helen Burnet believes the code should be there to protect the public.
"I don't know what I said was in anyway, anyway harmful to the public," she said.
"I certainly do not hope it was, but I think this is a classic case that identifies that there does need to be some reform in this part of the Local Government Act that deals with codes of conduct.
"I think if we have an instrument that is beneficial to the public, rather than being used as a political tool then we would serve the public better."
Local Government Minister Bryan Green has agreed to establish a working group to assess the code.
A spokesman says the investigation will focus on the nature of complaints and the nature of sanctions for non-compliance.
The group will begin meeting at the end of this month.
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