Per­ryville ad­dresses ab­sen­teeism at town meet­ings

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ ce­cil­whig. com

— In an ef­fort to ad­dress ab­sen­teeism on the town board, the may­ors and com­mis­sion­ers have added lan­guage to the town char­ter to en­cour­age board mem­bers to miss fewer meet­ings.

The mayor and com­mis­sion­ers passed Char­ter Amend­ment 2016- 02 Tues­day night, which spells out how many meet­ings an elected of­fi­cial can miss and still stay on the board.

Fail­ure to at­tend three con­sec­u­tive town meet­ings in per­son or re­motely, by ap­proval, will re­sult in ex­pul­sion, ac­cord­ing to the lan­guage of the amend­ment, which passed unan­i­mously.

“We’ve been over this many times,” said Mayor Jim Eber­hardt, adding the move was “in di­rect re­sponse to not hav­ing a full board on many oc­ca­sions.”

For­mer Com­mis­sioner Bar­bara Brown was ab­sent from town meet­ings for over a year due to ill-

PER­RYVILLE

ness. Al­though she kept up with town busi­ness and at­tended sev­eral votes re­motely, she in­formed the board her phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions kept her away. Brown said the ramp into Perr yville Town Hall had too steep a pitch for her to nav­i­gate.

Brown de­cided not to seek re- elec­tion in May af­ter 14 years as a town com­mis­sioner.

Pre­vi­ously, the town char­ter gave the re­main­ing board no way to re­spond to a fel­low mem­ber’s fre­quent ab­sence. But, ac­cord­ing to the amend­ment, the re­main­ing board can now take the ac­tion to re­move the ab­sent mem­ber.

The amend­ment reads that “upon mo­tion ap­proved by the af­fir­ma­tive vote of the ma­jor­ity of the re­main­ing mem­bers of the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers, fail­ing to at­tend three con­sec­u­tive town meet­ings, in per­son or by au­tho­rized re­mote par­tic­i­pa­tion.” Ab­sen­teeism now be­comes the fifth way an elected of­fi­cial can be re­moved from of­fice along with death, res­ig­na­tion, ceas­ing to re­side in Perr yville, and crim­i­nal con­duct.

Com­mis­sioner Michelle Linkey noted the rule only ap­plies to town meet­ings, not the monthly work ses­sion. The board ap­proved the use of re­mote par­tici- pa­tion last year, al­low­ing the mayor or a com­mis­sioner to phone into the meet­ing for a spe­cific dis­cus­sion or vote.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Per­ryville Com­mis­sioner Michelle Linkey and Mayor Jim Eber­hardt check the con­nec­tion on the tele­phone at the Septem­ber 2015 town meet­ing where then-Com­mis­sioner Bar­bara Brown took ad­van­tage of the town’s new re­mote par­tic­i­pa­tion rule.

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