A colleague’s extended absence has so raised the ire of some Spokane City Council members that they’re trying to prevent anyone from being away so long again.
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.
Currently, a council member can be gone up to six months.
“We want to prevent someone from abusing (the charter) as it’s presently being done,” Colliton said.
Councilman Chris Anderson left to take a job as a truck driver on the “Dante’s Peak” movie set in Wallace, Idaho, on May 28. After that, he’s missed 20 consecutive meetings.
Council members have complained that Anderson’s prolonged absence has increased their workload, forcing them to fill his spots on city boards and commissions.
He continues to cash his $1,500-a-month city paycheck.
The council - minus Anderson - unanimously agreed in September to put the amendment before voters.
If voters approve the measure, the council plans to draft a policy defining acceptable absences.
“We owe it to the citizens who elected us for us to be there,” said Colliton. “To ensure that we are there, we need some checks and balances.”
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: THE PROPOSAL The proposed 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.