A suspended councillor has shed more light on the “toxic” and “chaotic” state of the Perth City Council.

Suspended councillor Steve Hasluck has spoken at an inquiry into the council’s activities around the end of 2017 and the start of 2018.

It was a time when the “dysfunction at the city reached its zenith”, according to counsel assisting the inquiry, Cheyne Beetham.

After just four months on the job, Mr Hasluck says he was contacted by councillor Reece Harley about a motion to amend policy so that council could appoint a new chief executive officer.

Martin Mileham had been CEO, but he left on stress leave, putting Robert Mianich in the position as acting CEO.

After just a few days, Mr Mianich lodged complaints with the Local Government Standards Panel about councillor Reece Harley and Deputy Lord Mayor Jemma Green, and then went on medical leave.

Mr Harley reportedly contacted Mr Hasluck about the motion to enable council to appoint a new chief executive officer, which was passed at a special council meeting the day after Mr Mianich’s departure.

Mr Hasluck was asked if he knew Mr Mianich had lodged complaints when he was approached by the people the complaints involved.

He said he was “blindsided”, and would not have supported the change if he knew about the complaints.

Mr Hasluck said he thought the motion “was a sensible idea at the time”, as it would open to position to a CEO who could “show stability”, and that he did not think Mr Mianich could “calm the waters”.

The revelation came shortly after suspended City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi admitted she broke the law by breaching conflict of interest rules several times.