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Monday’s city Council meeting had a rather unique twist. Most of the time, the City Council and media members receive information about what is going to be discussed that night.  This past Monday night on the agenda was simply the statement “Discuss Governing Body pay”.   No further information was given to Council members or media members about this discussion, other than the fact that the Mayor wanted to have a discussion about this topic.

What we thought would be a discussion about the rate of pay, turned out to be about Governing Body attendance.

Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson began the discussion with the idea about tying council member pay to attendance at meetings.  Currently, City Council members receive $200 per month and the Mayor receives $250 per month.

While Hopson did not have clear cut ideas on how to address the topic, he did eventually suggest setting up a policy for “excused and unexcused” absences and setting a benchmark for how many unexcused absences a Council member could have before any pay was docked.  Councilman John Fiore did bring up the fact that some council members schedules may not be conducive to constant attendance.

“I’ve got a day job that is easy for me to be here by 7, but I know that at least two of our Council members don’t have that luxury with their schedule,” Fiore said referring to Councilmen Bill Whitten and Tim Reazin who are full time fire fighters in other municipalities.

“I don’t want to tell Tim or Bill, or Kenny or Ruth for that matter, or you (referring to the Mayor) because you had some terrible issues right when I started where you were out of town helping out with disaster victims and I don’t want to tell you ‘Hey don’t help those disaster victims because you have only so many excused absences’, Fiore added.

Councilman Reazin also brought up the fact that when the pay for the governing body was raised in 2011, the idea was that the money was not solely for attendance at Council meetings but to help reimburse council members for other outside meetings and their time spent preparing for the meetings as well as giving back to the community in the form of donations to various charitable fundraisers that occur regularly.

Reazin and Councilman Kenny Massey both suggested that the idea that excused versus unexcused absences would lead to causing people to lie about why they were not in attendance.

“This is a commitment and you signed up for this when you put your name on the ballot,” Massey said. “I think if you get elected to these positions you should be here.”

Massey did also reiterate Fiore’s earlier comment about the fact that Reazin and Whitten have extenuating circumstances due to their full time employment, but said that members can somewhat plan their schedules and plan ahead for things such as vacation.

“I think it should just be X number of absences per calendar year and if you go over that, then you get docked,” Massey added.

While no formal decision was made, the consensus was that further discussions would need to take place and some formal determinations in a work session should occur in the near future.

We took a look at the minutes from each meeting in both 2011 and 2012 to verify the number of absences for Council members and the Mayor.

In 2011, there was 23 City Council meetings.  Mayor Hopson missed the most with eight absences.   Bill Whitten and Tim Reazin missed six meetings each with Kenny Massey, Ruth Hughs and John Fiore all missing one meeting apiece.

In 2012,  to date, there has been 15 meetings with Tim Reazin missing five and Bill Whitten missing four, including this very meeting where the discussion took place.  All other Council members and the Mayor have attended all 2012 meetings.

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8 Responses to Attendance at City Council meetings

  • They signed up for the job, if they miss 2 meetings can them, No ifs ands or buts.
    This is a twice a month deal for $200.00 and you were voted on by the people to do it and YOU wanted it.
    If you cant fill the shoes, resign this week !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was floored when i saw how many meetings our mayor and a couple members missed. That is unaceptable !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Who wants to be in charge of a broke city anyways ????

  • Just curious on what the pay has been in the years past. Can you get that information for us? I agree with Businessman. If you can’t make it to scheduled meetings then you should resign and give the job to someone else. I think it’s very unexcusable for the mayor to miss so many meetings. What was his excuse for missing all those?

    • Prior to July 2011, the Council members were paid $150 per year. They voted to increase their pay to the current amounts. Here is the story from back then: http://www.eudorareporter.com/eudora-city-council-gets-a-raise/

      While we do not ask each Councilman or the Mayor for a reason each time a meeting is missed, as Councilman Fiore stated during the meeting, many of those misses by the Mayor in 2011 were due to his job requiring him to help in communities hit by devastating storms. The Mayor works for a power company. We know he spent time in Joplin, Mo following the devastating tornado there and also spent time in communities in Arkansas reconnecting power lines after storms. Most, if not all, of his absences were due to work requirements in other parts of the midwest.

  • I agree. I completely understand that people have other jobs. But if their job does not allow them to make meetings, perhaps they shouldn’t have run for office in the first place.

  • These are adults we are talking about people. The system the mayor wants set up sounds like high school. Give me a break! If the constituents of that members district doesn’t like how many meetings they miss, then vote them out of office next term. That, of course, requires the constituents to pay attention, good luck with that! This is hysterical. 250 dollars is not enough to justify missing your full-time job. This small city DOES NOT need full time city council members, that’s for sure.

  • Laughing ) So you do not feel that Eudora is worthy of having people in place to run it right 24 – 7 and stay in contact with each other and do what they were voted in to do on a regular basis ?
    It dosen`t matter what your job is ( i commend Scott on his helping in other cities ) , but if your hired to do a job at a price with only 24 monthly meetings a year, you need to make those meeting. We the people counted on each person we put in place to stick our vote in the hat at EACH meeting , not some meetings.
    I still say, you miss meetings, you need to resign NOW !!!
    I also would like to see our city leaders get us a new city manager, i don`t feel this one has what Eudora needs to move on and get some good businesses in town. He has gotten us WAAAAAAAY DEPER in DEBT though.

  • The city council is not a 24-7 job, its not even a job, its an elected office one holds. Besides, thats not how city governance works. Eudora does have people watching, aka your beloved city administrator. If you’re so upset, when will we see you step up and put your name on a ballot for your 24-7 council?

  • That is the differance between myself and the ones missing meetings now.
    I know i wouldnt have the time so i don`t run.
    I wouldn`t put myself in the seat due to that reason only.
    Other than that i would love it, but not in Eudora
    I am moving my family out of Eudora due to the BS in city leadership and the cost of living.
    My home taxes are 40% more than lawrence and the utility rates have gone up 500% in 6 years.
    Now all i have to do is swallow my pride and walk out of a home that has lost 60% of its value.
    Eudora is not what it was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, its a crap town that has delapidated its interstructure and is sucking its people dry.
    The new city adm is taking this city down in flames.