According to Town Supervisor Hunneyman, they [the board] have contacted the NYS Attorney Generals Office and we are not the only board that has this problem. Last year Councilman Durand was out of the state for February, March, and April. He only missed 2 meetings because the one in February was canceled due to inclement weather. However, this year Durand missed all the meetings scheduled for January, February, March, and April. Hunneyman goes on to say that New York State is well aware of it and they [NYS] don't seem to concerned about it [excessive absences of elected officials].
Audio Clip from the public concerns portion of the 4.17.12 meeting Town of Alexandria
I guess what Supervisor Hunneyman is suggesting is this, if the State of New York isn't worried about the absences then why am I making it an issue. Let me respond to that by saying, Because it is morally and ethically wrong! Wrong to accept $2,989 annual compensation and not be present for 4 of the 12 months. In my book it is also improper to serve on a municipal board if you know you are going to be absent from the board and absent from the community that elected you.
Councilman Sweet also interjected that there is no local law that lets us deal with that problem. Sweet admits these absences are a problem. Isn't that what governing boards do..... solve problems even if the problem is in-house? Town Attorney J. Russell also supported Sweet by saying there is nothing in our laws and nothing in state laws..... Councilman Beaudin corrected Sweet and Russell stating that we have something on the books. Councilman D. Williams also stated that when he started on the board 35 years ago he was told you could miss only one meeting.
Ideally, elected town officials job is more than just attending monthly meetings. They belong to committees, and are liaisons to various groups, organizations, and clubs. You can not govern your community by being out of the state for 4 months or longer. You have to make yourself visible and available whether you are out to dinner, grocery shopping, or attending religious services. You can not feel the pulse of your community when you are away that long.
As you will hear towards the end of the audio clip, Councilman Sweet prides himself on gathering facts and is critical of anyone that deviates from the facts. I offer Mr. Sweet one final fact. It is called the oath of office. Everyone of you swore to this oath.
I,_________________________do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the
United States and the Constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of, ________________________________according to the best of my ability.
Councilman Durand started his 4th four year term in 2009. As some of you may remember, I ran for one of those 2 seats and I lost. This is not a grudge or sour grapes because Mr. Durand won and I did not. To me it is a dilemma, Why anyone on that board would be thrilled to attend every meeting and perform their duties when one of their own board members does not, it is a mystery to me.