November 2, 1996 in City

Absence Makes Council No Fonder Of Missing Anderson Measure Would Make Seat Vacant After 4 Missed Meetings

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane City Councilman Chris Anderson disappeared from the council dais five months ago and still won’t say when - or if - he plans to return.

“The best you can do is just wait and see,” said Anderson’s wife, Sandy, on Friday, adding that her husband won’t talk to The Spokesman-Review.

While his absence doesn’t violate the current city charter, Anderson’s frustrated colleagues want to keep anyone else from staying away so long.

A charter amendment proposed by Councilman Jeff Colliton would limit a member’s absences to four consecutive regular meetings. A longer absence would need council approval or that seat would be declared vacant.

The amendment goes before voters Tuesday.

If it passes, the council will have to “define by ordinance what constitutes a legitimate excuse” for an absence, said City Attorney James Sloane.

“We want to prevent someone from abusing (the charter) as it’s presently being done,” Colliton said.

Currently, a council member can be gone up to six months.

If Anderson doesn’t return by Nov. 25, his seat would be declared vacant even without the charter change, Sloane said.

Anderson left May 28 to take a job as a truck driver on the “Dante’s Peak” movie set in Wallace, Idaho.

He moved with the crew to Los Angeles in September, saying he’d be back no later than Oct. 22, the film’s latest possible shooting date.

Anderson asked for an absentee ballot from the Spokane County Elections Office - a sign he may be gone at least another week.

Repeated attempts to reach Anderson have been unsuccessful. He continues to cash his $1,500-a-month council paycheck.

“Taxpayers are paying his salary, not mine,” said Sandy Anderson, refusing to answer any more questions about her husband’s absence.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: THE PROPOSAL The Spokane city charter amendment would limit a council member’s absences to four consecutive regular meetings. A member wanting a longer leave would need the council’s OK or the seat would be declared vacant.

This sidebar appeared with the story: THE PROPOSAL The Spokane city charter amendment would limit a council member’s absences to four consecutive regular meetings. A member wanting a longer leave would need the council’s OK or the seat would be declared vacant.

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