Only three elected members turned up to a Christmas party at the weekend hosted by under-fire Waikato Regional Council chairman Russ Rimmington at his home.
But Rimmington denies it was a snub, despite the party coming just days after councillors learnt he had made allegedly "racist" and "offensive" comments during a widely publicised Local Government New Zealand webinar at the end of October.
Some councillors felt Rimmington's comments reflected badly on the entire council.
Sources told the Herald others also opted to stay away, with only three councillors and some council executives attending the event.
The end of year lunch at Rimmington's Tamahere farm was held on Saturday and was for the other 13 councillors, directors and their partners. Rimmington paid for the event out of his own pocket.
Attendees had to RSVP by November 29 for a "relaxing afternoon" except for rogue councillor Fred Lichtwark who Rimmington uninvited last Friday.
However, Rimmington denies uninviting him and said he had given mixed responses so they decided to cut it off due to catering.
Those councillors who showed up were Taupō-Rotorua councillor Kathy White, Waihou councillor Stu Husband and Waikato councillor Pamela Story.
Rimmington said holding the event earlier in the month than usual was the reason for the declining numbers and not his comments that had offended iwi and some councillors.
He said they all had "the best time" and the event ran late into the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the council will meet on Thursday for the last time this year and will consider a motion from councillor Stu Kneebone requesting Rimmington to note "serious concerns" over his offensive comments. The motion is seconded by Tipa Mahuta.
In his motion, Kneebone said a number of councillors had since listened to Rimmington's comments and believed they were "offensive, completely inappropriate and are misrepresentative" of the council's relationship with its iwi partners and its view on the Three Waters reforms.
He is also proposing Rimmington makes formal apologies, takes time over summer to reflect on his responsibilities as chair and refreshed himself with the council's Three Waters interim position statement.
However at least one councillor - Lichtwark - believes the motion does not go far enough and wants Rimmington removed as chairman.
The Herald reported last week that LGNZ Te Maruata chairwoman Bonita Bigham had laid a formal complaint to fellow Te Maruata Ropu Whakahaere member and regional councillor Mahuta, calling on Rimmington to apologise to iwi and his own council for what she described as offensive, derogatory and racist comments.
Bigham took issue with Rimmington's views, including comments that "the Māori" will "usurp" and "jeopardise" the future development of "our country" by having control of the water.
Rimmington is not the only councillor to come under fire this term. Lichtwark was prevented from accessing council committees for an initial six months for comments he made to fellow councillor Pamela Story in a carpark, but that was extended for the entire term when he refused to undergo an anger management course and apologise.
Formal complaints were also laid against councillor Kathy White after she attended an anti-lockdown protest in Taupō during alert level 4. White has since apologised.