On Tuesday, Jan. 30 Carleton Place Council convened a regular session to discuss and vote on various committee meetings’ reports and on the agenda was a report from the town’s Integrity Commissioner, Robert Swayze.
His filing, dated Jan. 22 and made public via the town’s website on Jan. 26 covered his review and findings regarding complaints from three individuals alleging that Mayor Louis Antonakos violated the Municipal Code of Conduct.
Based on the information forwarded to him by former mayor Paul Dulmage, current councillor Brian Doucett, and resident Kory Earle along with details obtained from interviews and emails, Swayze found that Antonakos did violate the code as well as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, details of which have been published earlier (Jan. 30).
While the three-page report was attached to the agenda for the evening, no delegations had registered with the town clerk to speak to this matter although the regular council chambers were packed with over 35 members of the public.
At the end of the routine business portion of the meeting chaired by the mayor, he called for the report to be filed without vote or discussion. Coucillor Theresa Fritz immediately raised a point of order and quickly drafted a motion to suspend normal procedure to allow anyone from the audience to speak.
This was done for a much larger meeting on May 9, 2017 when Swayze appeared in person to deliver his report on Code of Conduct violations by the Mayor. Even with a diminished council in attendance (Deputy Mayor Flynn and Councillor Doucett were absent) Fritz’s motion was passed and several residents opted to speak.
Dulmage was first up with a terse, “this whole situation is regrettable.”
Resident E Hogan hoped that “council would apply the maximum penalties possible”,(as per the Municpal Act of Ontario it would be 90 days remuneration forfeited).
Council applied that penalty plus a portion of a discretionary allowance after the May 2017 meeting. Council members were allowed to voice there opinions and Coucillor Redmond remarked that he was “extremely disappointed in the Mayor.”
To no one’s surprise, a familiar Lyle Dillabough added that “could we please put the interests of the community first…if I was ever in the mayor’s position I’d resign to protect the integrity of both the office and the town.” His comments were followed by many applause.
When Hometown News asked the mayor for comment, this was his only reply: “I may not agree but I have to respect the process and I suggest we move forward and proceed.”
Council then added a final motion to forward the report to the next Policy Review Committee meeting of Feb. 13 for discussion and action.