The Kane County Board attendance numbers came out this week and, let me tell you, it wasn’t a pretty sight because 11 of those 24 esteemed individuals missed at least 22 percent of the meetings. And the two big winners, Myrna Molina and Jesse Vasquez, were absent 64 and 77 percent of the time respectively.
Those stats were culled from the full board, COW (Committee of the Whole), and the standing committee meetings each board member is expected to attend. Though I would propose posit that COW meetings shouldn’t count because they really are a waste of time.
And truth be told, the board member attendance bell curve hasn’t that all that much over the years which is why this attendance tracking endeavor started with former Chairman Karen McConnaughay’s exasperation over empty dais seats.
Though, if one were to consider her county commissioner attendance track record, they’d understand the massive irony there. And ain’t it funny how those then silent folks had no problem with the former Chairman’s truancy efforts, but they suddenly sputter, shriek, and do the sidestep when this Chairman does the same thing.
Of course, the biggest whiner in all of this was former Marine Vasquez who, like your average caught red-handed middle schooler, tried to weasel his way out of it by questioning the accuracy of the numbers, claimed it didn’t include Forest Preserve meetings, and insisted it was all a personal attack.
The only problem with his fascinating theories are, the board office staff has always noted who’s absent for the meeting minutes, Forest Preserve gatherings never count, and what would any self-respecting Chairman have to gain by shaming an opposition board member into attending meetings and consistently voting against him?
Were I chairman (ain’t that a frightening thought), I’d simply let Mr. Vasquez and his ilk go on their merry meeting missing way.
It’s certainly true that, when done correctly, a board member’s duties go way beyond that Building A boardroom. But if you aren’t there to regularly cast your vote, can you really say you’re representing your constituents?
Most folks run for office with the best of intentions, but few understand the demands that come along with serving the public. When something directly affects the voters – as it often does at the county level – they can be quite the persistent bunch.
Then there are those instances where health, family, job or other circumstances change, making it much more difficult for a board member to serve. But if that’s the case, there’s no shame in stepping down and passing the baton onto someone else who has the time because it happens all the time.
I suppose the board could always vote to tie their salary and benefits package to meeting attendance, but one would hope we wouldn’t have to resort to that kind of stick and carrot approach with folks who purport to represent the best of their constituents.
That said, if any of us missed 22 percent or more of our work days, we’d likely be out of a job. Sadly, especially at the local level, the voters aren’t nearly as exacting as our bosses and that’s why these attendance woes will likely continue.