The Union County Planning Board didn’t walk out of talks about how to reorganize county advisory boards. Eight of the nine members simply didn’t show up.
Board Chairman Robert Allen, the only regular member to attend Tuesday, canceled the meeting because the panel couldn’t make its five-member quorum.
It’s the first time in more than 25 years the board adjourned because too few members were present, county spokesman Brett Vines said.
t Tuesday’s regularly scheduled monthly Union County Planning Board meeting, only 2 out the eleven 11 appointed members showed up for work.
This occasion has upset some people who evidently have the gall to expect a modicum of professionalism from our appointed boards. But, lest not we forget how these board members were appointed, in block by our previous ‘developer-indebted’ commissioner majority; Messieurs Baucom, Mills and Pressley. So if they were to boycott a meeting for some reason, is it any surprise they’d do so like a school of mackerel.
I am sure this absenteeism, akin to say the ‘Blue Flu’, had nothing to do with the intense conversation last Monday night after the Commissioners meeting between Mr. Baucom and Planning Board member Don Kerr.
You know Don Kerr, the first mayor of Marvin, AG Board member and corporate founder of Union County 2020, the campaign law skirting organization funded by our stellar old guard luminariesÂ to support candidate Jonathan Thomas during the last election, in part by big dollar mail campaign trashing other candidates.
No Walkout – just the law of averages
After pondering this issue, I think I have an answer as to how this happened – it’s quite simple actually.Â The reason 9 of 11Â Planning Board members missed Tuesdays meeting was due to the law of averages not a protest as you may assume.
It was only the matter of time and here’s why.
The attendance record of the current Planning Board has been abysmal and when you consider the number and frequency of attendance failures by 73% the board members, it is easy to see how Tuesday could happen.
The following table is the attendance record for the last 12 monthly meetings. It speaks for itself. ((The attendance of board members is public record and published on the Union County website))
* The highlighted members could/should be removed for failing to meet attendance requirements stipulated in the County Ordinance:
From the County Ordinance concerning Planning Board attendance:
(d) Regular planning board members may be removed by the Board at any time for
failure to attend three consecutive meetings or for failure to attend thirty percent
or more of the meetings within any twelve month period or for any other good
cause related to performance of duties. Alternate members may be removed for
repeated failure to attend or participate in meetings when requested to do so in
accordance with regularly established procedures. Upon request of the member
proposed for removal, the Board shall hold a hearing on the removal before it
* EnforcementÂ falls on the Board Chairman to enforce.
So much for the mighty ideals espoused by Mr. Baucom, Mr. Mills and the certain vocal Planning Board members as they speak of how important it for the people of the townships to be represented.
An empty chair speak volumes does it not?
To the question of board effectiveness;Â if 82% attendance figure equates to 9 members or a member representing each regular seat on the board, then only twice (2) in the last 12 monthly meetings did Union County’s Planning Board actually meet their responsibility. Ten out of twelve times,Â some townships went unrepresented.
|Monthly Meeting||Member Attending Percentage|
|November 2007||45% â€|
â€ 45% equates to 5 members, the minimum needed for a quorum
NMÂ – No Meeting Scheduled
Poor attendance by the current board members is not the fault of anyone but the members themselves, the 3 commissioners who appointed them and the Planning Board Chairman who has allowed this affront to taxpayers to continue.
Appointment by township is deeply flawed for a host ofÂ reasons. That being said, the Planning Board is inherently a very technical board, a board best served by people who have the time and interest to be educated and then participate for the benefit ofÂ Union County. To do less isÂ short changing the hard pressed taxpayers through out the County.
As a disclaimer of sorts, let me inform the reader that I was a Planning Board member for two years (2005-2007) and seated during the Board restructuring two years ago. I have been very vocal then and now against township representation.