After a month-long suspension, Quispamsis, N.B., Mayor Gary Clark is back, presiding over the first council talks on the 2020 budget.
Clark was suspended at the beginning of October over an incident that unfolded in the summer.
In July, Clark skipped an Emergency Measures Organization update meeting, citing a family emergency. However, according to a complaint outlined before council in October, Clark was actually at the qplex pool.
The mayor reportedly sent a text to the town’s chief administrative officer saying he was at the hospital with family.
Clark, who admitted to the allegations in September, now says his actions were a mistake.
“People make mistakes,” he said.
“We’re all human and we do things that maybe we shouldn’t. I had time to reflect on that.”
According to the complaint, Clark gained access to the pool that day by falsifying his identity and telling the qplex staff he left his membership card at home.
Speaking with Global News, he says one day of hooky shouldn’t discredit years of good attendance.
“When you look at my attendance, it’s almost been 100 per cent for all of my meetings,” he said.
While Clark was on suspension, the town’s deputy mayor, Libby O’Hara, ran the show.
The pair have worked together now for several years.
“If a relationship is strained, then, of course, it becomes a little bit awkward,” O’Hara said.
“But for those of us that were not involved in his actions … we’re here to do the work of the town. That’s what we’re elected for.”
With Clark back in his seat at town hall, council can now shift their focus to the budget.
The town will hold its first public consultation at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.