Councilor Brian Doucett stormed out of a regular session of Carleton Place’s council session held on April 24th in frustration with Mayor Louis Antonakos. Councilor Doug Black rose from his seat as well and stated he too was leaving, but then decided to remain. The frustration and anger on the part of these 2 councilors was shared and expressed by their colleagues. It stemmed from Antonakos’ procedural actions to remove items from various committee consent reports for further discussion and separate and recorded votes. As background, when items are discussed and voted on during various committee meetings (such as Planning and Protection or Community Issues), those subjects still require council ratification at the next scheduled full session held every 2 weeks. They are referred to as consent agenda items and often involve little debate. Certain committee action items, such as expenditures, contracts, property sales, or bylaw amendments/creations, require a separate council vote on their own, again often without much discussion.
One of the items pulled by Antonakos on Tuesday night’s session was a decision to hold off on tendering the arena change-room overhaul project until grant monies could be secured. This was approved at a committee meeting on April 17th. He indicated that he thought the tendering process should go ahead and that the entire project could be funded from reserves. Councilor Theresa Fritz, who has gone on record as being in favour of expediting this project as quickly as possible, accused the mayor of “abusing the council process” and she supported staff who brought forward the recommendation to hold off on going to tender before financing was secured. Antonakos expressed his frustration at the new council agenda format which deleted much of the background text for items being forwarded from various committee discussions. Staff explained this was to make the documents easier to read and follow and mentioned that the full versions of any abridged text were readily available to the public (and council members) via the town’s website.