Centerville delays vote seeking Antani ouster; Ohio senator to address council

City Council put resolution on tonight’s agenda, then delayed it; Antani’s lack of advocacy for state funding is among issues listed

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Centerville City Council planned a resolution calling for the resignation of State Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp., who represents the area, but then withdrew it Monday to give the lawmaker more time to address several issues the city has with his representation.

The measure, which was on the original agenda for city council’s regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening, called for Antani, who represents the 6th District in the Ohio Senate, to step down from his role immediately and refund his pay.

A Dayton Daily News investigation into Antani’s Statehouse attendance, published on May 16, found that Antani had missed nine Senate voting sessions, which equated to about one-third of the total votes the Senate has taken since the start of the 135th General Assembly. It showed he also missed a majority of scheduled committee hearings and was permanently removed from one committee.

Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton, in a statement emailed to this news outlet Monday, said Antani requested an opportunity to explain himself and address Centerville City Council’s concerns over the handling of his responsibilities as their elected state senator.

“In the spirit of fairness and transparency, we have pulled the resolution from the agenda to allow Senator Antani the chance to provide his perspective,” Compton said. “City Council will give him the opportunity to respond before considering further action.”

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

The Dayton Daily News investigation found Antani had opted not to meet with local stakeholders, nor did he submit a list of priorities to Senate leadership in connection to a $700 million, one-time strategic investment fund that the state set aside for local projects and folded into the state’s larger capital budget. Antani told this news organization he opted not to partake on ideological grounds.

Antani told this news outlet Monday that his understanding is that Centerville City Council members are upset that he is not supporting their funding request for the state capital budget.

“I am voting against this budget as this year it has ballooned to $700 million, instead of the $100 million it typically is,” Antani said of this year’s one-time strategic investment fund. “As a fiscal conservative, I simply cannot stand for this reckless spending, even if that means I am opposing certain projects.

“I stand for all taxpayers, not just certain special interests.”

Both the city and Antani said he and Compton spoke over the weekend and are working to schedule a date on which he will address city council.

Antani missed the next Senate session following the Dayton Daily News’ investigation, but is now on a run of three successive attendances to the Senate floor.

Senate journals show that despite Antani’s recent return to form, he is still regularly being temporarily replaced on the Senate Government Oversight Committee, which he is paid to help lead.

Council, in its resolution, also said that in addition to Antani missing sessions and hearings “without a valid excuse,” he also “failed to meet with representatives of the city of Centerville concerning capital improvement projects eligible for funding and missed the deadline for submitting a list of local projects to Senate leadership in order to access surplus funds set aside for capital improvement projects throughout the state.”

The withdrawn resolution called on Antani to immediately resign from his seat “so that a successor can be appointed as provided by law to effectively represent the citizens of Centerville and the 6th District for the remainder of the term.”

It also called on Antani to refund his base pay of $71,099 “for the time period during which he has neglected his duties and failed to attend sessions of the Ohio Senate.” It said that pay was for “the part-time job of a member of the Ohio Senate, not including benefits and supplements for committee assignments” and “more than $4,000 above the median household income in Ohio.”

The city first sent the agenda that included the resolution calling for Antani’s resignation on Friday after it created the packet distributed to council members. The resolution was discussed during a previous work session, Centerville officials said Monday.