This lesson was apparently lost on Waseca businessman and former city council member Mike Parry. Back in October 2008, the Waseca County News reported in Meeting attendance by council members varies:
WASECA — At least once a year, the attendance figures for Waseca’s council, boards and commissions are tallied to see where members stand. At a recent council meeting, Waseca City Council member Robin Terrell asked for the 2008 numbers.
She said she requested the information because she thinks it is very important for elected officials to be present at city council meetings whenever possible.
“Our job is to represent the citizens and you can’t do that job well when you’re not at meetings,” she said.
Mayor Roy Srp, who is seeking the Independence Party endorsement for the seat, missed only one of nineteen meetings in the period that ran from January through September 2008.
The worst attendance? According to the article, "council member Mike Parry was absent from five of the 19 meetings."
The article also noted 20 work sessions held by the city council. It reported "perfect attendance for Srp and only one absence for Johansen, Clemons, Terrell and Coy."
Parry? The WCN reported:
Parry with seven absences.
“All of it was due to travel for my work,” said Parry of meetings missed in 2008. ...
Parry's attendance at board or commission meetings:
• 67 percent Joint Government Board; 50 percent EDA; 100 percent Traffic Safety Board
In his unsuccessful bid for re-election to the Waseca City Council, these absences became an issue, as noted by a reader's comments in another WCN article, Christiansen, Parry face off in Ward 3. Provet wrote:
VISION includes planning and understanding. The Waseca paper reported that for 19 council meetings, Mr. Parry missed 5 times whil the mayor and 4 other members missed 1 or fewer.
For 20 work sessions the mayor and 4 members missed 0 or 1 meeting. Mr. Parry missed 7 times.
Parry's arrogance is reflected in his absences and lack of vision. It is time for a change. Vote for Mark Christiansen.
Christensen cast the single vote against Parry's post-defeat appointment to the city's Economic Development Authority because of his no-shows, according to a September 3, 2009 WCN report, Former councilman Parry named to EDA:
Christiansen said he opposed Parry’s appointment for several reasons, including his attendance record during the 21 months he served on the EDA.
“His attendance was awful,” said Christiansen. Records indicate Parry attended 40 percent of meetings in 2007 and 50 percent in 2008. Christiansen said the goal for commission members is 75 percent attendance.
The 2008 WCN article included the city charter's expectations for attendance:
According to Chapter 31 of Waseca City Code, “To ensure maximum representation and allow for orderly conduct of business, the City Council requires all board and commission appointees to attend a minimum of 75 percent of the annual scheduled meetings.”
A staff member is required to report membership attendance to the council by each January, according to the code. The code also says that “extraordinary circumstances such as serious illness” would be considered to waive the requirement.
Will Parry's poor attendance record and dubious record as a vote getter be an issue in the GOP endorsement battle on December 28?
Note: Frequent Bluestem Prairie commenter govtmule (Matt Johansen) is Parry's senate campaign committee treasurer, Johansen notes in his blog, Widespread Panic. Update January 4: I noticed that someone using the "govtmule" screen name had posted an anti-Parry remark after an article about Mike Parry in the Faribault paper; I emailed Johansen to let him know that someone had done this. He has contacted the Faribault paper's editor, asking for the bogus comment to be removed. While it is obvious that I'm no Parry fan, neither do I condone spoofing. Here's hoping that the newspaper chain identifies the prankster and banned him/her from commenting permanently. That's just wrong. Johansen had revealed his identity as govtmule last August when he posted a long open letter he sent to Congressman Walz in Bluestem's comments. Those who use screen names can self-disclose in our comments. Otherwise, I do not reveal the identity of the commenters at BSP. [end update]
Image: American comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen: "Eighty percent of success is showing up."