Council members respond to attendance record

Libertyland, Garage Gate, and millions of dollars in missing drug money.

All were big stories and major issues.

And when your city leaders were scheduled to tackle them, some were "no shows."

At least one missed the meeting when a tie vote killed a controversial term limits plan.

In six months, it happened a lot.

Myron Lowery was absent 34 times according to our count.

Tom Marshall and Rickey Peete, tied at 32.

Jack Sammons missed 29 committee meetings.

Action News Five Reporter Jason Miles left messages for Sammons and Peete.

"They called me and said watch out for Jason Miles," says councilman Tom Marshall.

Marshall wasn't exactly shocked by the numbers we showed him.

"Council members use committees to get their questions answered--some of us get our questions answered on a one on one basis," says Marshall.

Lowery was out of town and told us simply that he does his best to be there.  Both Marshall and Lowery admit committees are important but not as important as regular meetings in council chambers where final decisions are made.  However, there is plenty of lively debate that takes place on the 5th floor.  And other council members say that's where discussion on important issues happens.

"You asked for the job, the people gave you the chance to represent them--you need to be there to represent their interests," says councilwoman Carol Chumney.

Chumney is among those there the most.  She missed only 11 committee meetings.  That's still not as good as Edmund Ford and Dedrick Brittenum, both of whom have missed eight meetings.  Current council chairwoman Tajuan Stout Mitchell has missed only two meetings.

"We have working people and this is a part-time job," says Mitchell.  "But the committees they're assigned, I think you have a responsibility to be as informed as you can be," she adds.

Whether that requires regular meeting attendance depends on who you ask.