CL – Stokes skipped 28 meetings in 11 months

A review of the 55 meetings of the full council since July 7 – the first meeting of the newly inaugurated group – found some members with significant absences.

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes leads the pack with 28 absences, just over half of all regular meetings, special meetings and zoning meetings. Stokes was followed by Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon and Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill, with 17 and 13 absences, respectively.

Stokes’ lack of attendance is a matter of record. The longtime councilman publicly objects to holding meetings outside the council’s two monthly meetings set by ordinance.

“Councilman Stokes has told me and a lot of other people that coming to called meetings is not a part of his job,” Bluntson said.

Stokes does, however, attend meetings of the planning committee, which he chairs. That committee deals mostly with items sponsored by Stokes, including street and building renamings or initiatives like a long-contemplated civilian police review board.

Council members make $25,000 a year. Bluntson and Tillman draw less because they already receive a state pension from their public-sector jobs prior to serving on the council.

Clarion-Ledger
6/9/10