City council passes bill on attendance for boards

Members face removal for missing meetings

January 12, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Because some members were often absent, the Maritime Advisory Board asked the Annapolis city council last year to increase the panel's membership as a way to boost attendance.

That didn't sit well with Alderman Louise Hammond.

The Ward 1 Democrat felt board members should regularly attend meetings.

Last night, the council passed legislation, introduced in September by Hammond and two other aldermen, that more stringently regulates attendance of members of Annapolis' 24 boards and commissions.

"Right now, it says that if you miss three consecutive meetings, or four meetings a year, your chairman may determine" whether you're dismissed from the board, Hammond said.

"We're saying, `You miss three consecutive or four in a year and you're off,' " she said. "If you have a legitimate reason for missing them, you can come to city council and make your appeal and we'll reinstate you."

The measure is aimed at boosting attendance of some panels, such as the Maritime Advisory Board, which Hammond said had a dismal showing at some meetings early last year.

In January last year, two of the nine members attended, and in February and March, three showed up, she said.

Some boards meet monthly and others every two months.

The legislation states that members who miss three consecutive meetings or four meetings a year without "sufficient reason as determined by the chair of the committee, commission, board or authority" will be reported to the city council.

The measure also requires each board to submit attendance records to the council as part of its annual reports.

"Attendance on many of the committees is very good," said Ward 5 Alderman Herb McMillan, who co-sponsored the bill with Hammond and Alderman Sheila Tolliver, a Ward 2 Democrat.

"We're saying, `Look, if you want to be a member of a committee, you have to show up. If you don't, that's fine. We'll replace you with somebody who's going to show up,' " said McMillan, a Republican.

At last night's meeting, Mayor Dean L. Johnson also announced that the council has confirmed his nomination of David L. Smith as director of the Department of Public Works.

Johnson introduced a bill to tighten the city's public-disturbance laws to curb late-night drunken activity that often spills onto Annapolis streets after bars close, waking up residents.

Pub Date: 1/12/99

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