Inquiry counsel rejects jobs for the boys allegations at Blue Mountains City Council

Allegations of so-called "jobs for the boys" at Blue Mountains Council have not been substantiated at the public inquiry, according to counsel assisting the investigation.

Ross Glover, in his submission to commissioner Richard Beasley SC, said there was no evidence to support various allegations about staff appointments, including conflict of interest, failing to follow guidelines and favouritism.

Shock jock Ray Hadley had claimed that one-time acting general manager, Stuart Liddell, had helped "mates", including Mark Mulligan and John Hargreaves, get jobs with council.

The matter was eventually referred to a public inquiry, which heard evidence in September.

Mr Glover, in his submission, said the suggestion that Mr Mulligan was appointed because of his prior relationship with Mr Liddell should be rejected.

While the two men had worked together at Essential Energy in 2003-4, they had a "work friendship", not an ongoing social friendship.

Mr Glover said after Mr Liddell left the organisation, Mr Mulligan had "very intermittent" contact with him, including periods of several years without any contact whatsoever.

"Mr Liddell and Mr Mulligan were not 'close friends' or 'mates' in the manner suggested," he said.

Similarly, Mr Glover said the commissioner would not find any impropriety in the appointment of Mr Hargreaves - who played golf with Mr Liddell at Wentworth Falls Country Club - as program leader, business improvement.

"Whilst there is no doubt that Mr Liddell and Mr Hargreaves were friends, and played golf together, the evidence makes clear that Mr Liddell played no role in the recruitment process relating to Mr Hargreaves.

"When second-round interviews were conducted Mr Liddell (consistent with him having removed himself from the process) expressly stated that he would have to 'excuse himself from the panel'."

Mr Glover also referred to allegations around the appointment of a successor to general manager, Robert Greenwood.

Cr Kerry Brown, in a submission to the inquiry, said she believed the appointments of Mr Liddell and then Rosemary Dillon as acting general manager were "tightly managed" by the mayor and the ruling bloc of councillors "to ensure that a person sympathetic to the position being developed by BMCC in response to the asbestos crises was maintained at the top of the organisation".

She suggested the ruling bloc did not want an outsider appointed and both Mr Liddell and Dr Dillon were "captain's picks" by the mayor.

"This is not a reflection on the capability of Dr Dillon or Mr Liddell but of the inappropriate selection process and criteria," Cr Brown wrote.

But Mr Glover submitted that both appointments had been unanimously approved by the governing body and were conducted according to state government-issued guidelines.

"The objective evidence reveals that the process for the recruitment of the general manager's position was detailed and thorough. The objective evidence does not support any of the suggestions raised in Cr Brown's submission."

In all other appointments raised with the commissioner, there was no evidence to support wrong-doing, Mr Glover said.

Whilst it may be accepted that the various concerns raised were genuinely held, they do not find support in the objective evidence. Accordingly, the evidence does not support a conclusion that the council contravened any of the particular provisions of the Local Government Act .... in relation to the various engagements examined."

He added that the cases investigated "do not support a conclusion that there were, or are, systemic or widespread issues in relation to the council's engagement of staff or contractors in the period since 2012".

The commissioner, Mr Beasley, is considering his findings on this segment of the public inquiry.

The final hearings - which revolve around claims of asbestos mismanagement - are expected to be held in Katoomba in March next year.