When Goldsboro city councilmen acted to censure one of their fellow board members, they did so to protect the city and its employees, Mayor Chuck Allen said.
The council voted Thursday to censure Councilman Antonio Williams for allegedly creating a hostile work environment stemming from a Sept. 27 Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority board meeting when Shycole Simpson-Carter, city community relations director, said Williams verbally attacked her and made her fear for her safety.
Simpson-Carter tried to secure a restraining order against Williams in November but was denied after Chief District Court Judge Elizabeth Heath ruled Simpson-Carter’s telling of events did not meet the requirements of the type of restraining order she was seeking.
The court ruling was played on tape during Thursday’s special called meeting of the city council. The judge, however, did not deny there was some kind of conflict between Williams and Simpson-Carter.
Williams said after last week’s meeting, he would fight the council’s attempt to censure him.
Simpson-Carter said the council decision offered some satisfaction.
“After two years of having to endure Councilman Williams’ hostility and harassment, I’m not displeased nor am I over the moon about their decision to censure him,” she said.
The mayor said the council is still waiting on more information about the hearing process from Ron Lawrence, city attorney, who will likely address the issue at Monday’s city council meeting.
The council asked Lawrence during the special meeting to look into process of having a censure hearing, what is involved and the timetable, Allen said.
“Because, obviously, we’ve never done anything like this,” Allen said. “We want to make sure we are doing everything properly.”
Williams also said at the special session that he thought the city should pay for his attorney fees. So, the council asked Lawrence to see if the city is obligated to provide an attorney for Williams.
Allen said he is unsure how the hearing will be judged and is waiting for the attorney to explain the process.
“But I think it’s with the council,” Allen said “It’s not judicial.
“A censure, in my opinion, doesn’t do a whole lot of anything other than shows that we have an obligation to protect the city and the employees. If this continues on, it says city council took appropriate action to stop any improper behavior.”