At a well attended meeting of Carleton Place Council’s Policy and Review committee, councillors voted in force to apply a forfeiture of 270 days of the mayor’s pay as well as the remainder of his 2018 discretionary allowance as punishment for his three latest contraventions of the municipal code of conduct as outlined in Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze’s report filed with the town in January.
Only the mayor himself abstained from voting with all six councillors voting in favour of the motion.
The mayor was the subject of three complaints from former mayor Paul Dulmage, local resident and rights activist Kory Earle, and councillor Brian Doucett alleging Antonakos intimidated and publicly disrespected them as well as revealing confidential council information.
Swayze found merit in these complaints and agreed that they warranted council’s consideration of applying a 30 day suspension of pay. Council took the power permitted to them by the Municipal Act to increase the penalty to its maximum of 90 days and treated each of the three complaints separately when factoring the fine.
In order to accommodate the large crowd of approximately 140 people, council moved the committee and regular council meeting to the upper hall and held the committee meeting first in a departure from normal routine.
The item to discuss the integrity commissioner’s report was originally listed as an in-camera or private item, but chair Doucett called at beginning of the meeting for a vote to move it into the open or public section of the session and to allow members of the public to speak.
Local developer Volundur (Wally) Thorbjornsson, resident Lisa Logan-Occomore, Earle, and Linda Seccaspina all expressed their disgust with Antonakos’s behaviour and called for his resignation, as did members of council when it was their turn to speak.
When Hometown News asked if Antonakos accepted any responsibility for his actions as outlined in Swayze’s report, he refused to answer. When asked what he thought his chances of re-election might be, he also remained quiet despite the crowd’s urging him to reply amongst their laughter.
Antonakos tried to introduce his own motion to request that the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs undertake a ministerial review of the integrity commissioner’s and council’s actions but he failed to get a seconder and his motion died on the table without discussion.