On the jobWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledoans should have been disturbed by lthe Jan. 24 Toledo Free Press news story, “Council members missed 219 meetings in 2009.”
As we reported, the 12 Toledo City Council members missed a combined 28 council meetings and 191 committee meetings. There were 26 regular council meetings and three special meetings held in 2009.
Former council members Frank Szollosi and Betty Shultz had the most excused absences in 2009 with six a piece. Phillip Copeland followed with four absences, Tom Waniewski had three absences and Lindsay Webb had two. Council members Michael Ashford, Wilma Brown, D. Michael Collins, Mike Craig, Steve Steel and Mark Sobczak all missed one council meeting. Councilmen George Sarantou and Joe McNamara did not miss any council meetings.
In addition to biweekly council meetings, there were 98 committee meetings and 26 agenda review meetings that count toward committee absences. Council members who missed the most excused committee meetings were Szollosi (57), Shultz (33), Ashford (18), Webb (17) and Brown (16). Committee meetings missed by the rest of council were; Copeland (15), Craig (9), Sobczak (7), Sarantou (5), McNamara (4), Steel (4), Collins (3) and Waniewski (3).
With mounting debt and critical social concerns at stake, these numbers are unacceptable. The commitment required to be on city council should be self-evident. Kudos to those council members with strong attendance records and shame on those with major blots on their records, especially those like Ashford who have aspirations for higher office.
Every employer knows that life gets in the way sometimes. Illness, conflicts, the uncontrollable events that change a day. But employers also know that excessive absence quickly leads to a breakdown in process and results. The City of Toledo can ill afford any further delays in its recovery, and that starts with government.
Our elected officials are allowed to make mistakes, but not showing up for the job is inexcusable and will be watched closely.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com.