How often is your councillor attending meetings?

By Scott Costen

None of them were perfect, but a few came awfully close.

Three members of Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) council missed only one regular meeting between Nov. 8, 2016 and Dec. 11, 2018. As a result, Mayor David Dagley, Coun. Brian Fralic and Coun. Jack Fancy boast attendance rates of 97.96 per cent.

Councillor Heather Kelly was not far behind, missing just two meetings for a 95.92 per cent rating.

RQM does not publish council attendance records. However, the Observer has compiled them for the 49 regular council meetings held since the current council was sworn in. Committee meetings, public hearings and special meetings are not included in these figures.

Councillors Kevin Muise, Susan MacLeod and Raymond Fiske each missed four meetings, meaning they were present 91.84 per cent of the time. Coun. Gil Johnson was absent nine times for an attendance rate of 81.63 per cent.

Reasons for absences, which are not explained in council minutes, can include everything from conference participation to illness to personal travel. Since council is considered a part-time job, other employment can also cause members to miss meetings.

In an email to the Observer, Johnson said several factors caused him to miss the most regular council meetings. “Two (were) for medical reasons and one was a personal vacation scheduling conflict,” he said. “The remaining absences are related to the unpredictability of my work (storm restoration).”

Johnson said the absences have not prevented him from being an effective representative for North Queens. “I let the record for the past two-year term speak for itself,” he wrote. “Community engagement has been stronger than in the past years, we have built a community strategy for sustainability, and local issues as they pop up are addressed as a community with regional representation at the table.”