Allan Robinson has rejected a call from the deputy lord mayor to resign over suggestions his illegal dumping record is putting the council's capability to operate waste services at risk, declaring he will let "the ratepayer be in charge of who resigns".
The independent councillor, who is yet to decide if he will seek reelection in September, was the centre of focus for a large portion of Tuesday's ordinary meeting, in which he was firstly asked by Cr Declan Clausen to resign in relation to his demolition company's illegal dumping offences and then censured for breaching the code of conduct last year.
A final report from an investigation into the breaches was tabled in a confidential session at the meeting, but the initial conduct complaint is understood to have stemmed from an incident where Cr Robinson was accused by fellow councillors to have "inappropriately touched" the lord mayor when a photograph was being taken in the old chamber.
"On the 25th February 2020, Cr Allan Robinson breached clauses 3.1 A and E, and 3.7 of the code of conduct for councillors by conducting himself in an inappropriate and intimidatory manner towards another councillor without their consent," the censure motion said.
The investigator likely assessed other incidents, as the motion noted their recommendation "that, due to the repeated and serious nature" of Cr Robinson's conduct, the matter be referred to the Office of Local Government for action under the misconduct provisions of the Local Government Act.
Cr Robinson was referred to the OLG in November for code of conduct breaches relating to homophobic comments made about Cr Clausen in 2019 and also censured at the same time for "derogatory comments" made about the lord mayor.
After the photograph incident last year, Cr Nelmes told the Newcastle Herald it was "never OK to touch a woman without her permission". "I know this councillor's behaviour is meant to intimidate me," she said.
"It's been consistent, and grabbing me was no different to the abusive language that has been regularly directed at me."
Cr Robinson said at the time he had placed his arm around Cr Nelmes' shoulder because the photographer had asked him "to move in closer" and he had "nothing but respect" for women.
Asked on Wednesday if he would be apologising given the censure and referral to the OLG, he said "definitely not" and described the investigation as a "disgraceful" cost to ratepayers.
Cr Robinson refuted Cr Clausen's claim the council's Environmental Protection Licence to operate Summerhill tip was at risk of being "suspended or revoked" because of his string of illegal dumping offences, saying the motion and subsequent debate was a "waste of time".
"I rang the EPA myself, they said 'we aren't doing anything Allan'," he said.
A NSW Environment Protection Authority spokesperson told the Herald ahead of Tuesday's meeting the agency was "not currently considering suspending the EPL".
Council staff have since written to the agency seeking clarification.
Asked what he thought of suggestions he was not a fit and proper person to be on council, Cr Robinson said "no one in the community" had ever told him that.
"I think the only way there is to ask the people that I act for, and they're the ratepayers," he said. "As for me resigning, the ratepayer should be in charge of who resigns."
The former jockey said he was undecided about contesting the September council election but hinted he would seek a fourth term.
"Probably because I can help a lot of people [as a councillor], and I get a lot of enjoyment out of that.
"I'll continue to run while ever people vote me in," he said.
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