Vitali tops, Rudd last for meeting attendance in 2019

Vitali tops, Rudd last for meeting attendance in 2019

PAWTUCKET – City Council members missed a combined 31 council meetings in 2019, with 18 of those absences from two members.

Councilor Albert Vitali Jr. was the only one with perfect attendance, going to all 28 council meetings last year, according to a review of minutes stating who was absent for each meeting. Councilor Tim Rudd was last for percentage, missing 11 of 28 council meetings, for an attendance rate of 60.7 percent.

Here are the attendance numbers for the other council members, from lowest attendance percentage to highest:

• Meghan Kallman missed seven of 28 meetings, for an attendance rate of 75 percent.

• Councilor Elena Vasquez missed three meetings, for an attendance rate of 89.3 percent.

• Councilor Mark Wildenhain missed three meetings, for an attendance rate of 89.3 percent.

• Councilor John Barry III missed two meetings, for an attendance rate of 92.9 percent.

• Councilor Michael Araujo missed two meetings, for an attendance rate of 92.9 percent.

• Councilor Terry Mercer missed two meetings, for an attendance rate of 92.9 percent.

• And Council President David Moran missed one meeting, for an attendance rate of 96.4 percent.

These numbers do not include subcommittee meetings, of which there are many.

City Council members earn $7,000 annually, while the council president receives $8,000.

Rudd, who was present for the first two meetings of 2020, according to posted minutes explained that 2019 was “an extremely stressful time for my family and I.”

“There were occasions where I had to forgo a meeting to tend to a matter pertaining to a family member,” said the councilman. “Fortunately things are better now and I don’t foresee missing any more meetings unless for an emergency.”

Moran said he doesn’t have a target number in mind for attendance or minimum requirements.

“They are certainly all adults and worked extremely hard to become members of the City Council and take pride in representing their constituency,” he said. “We all take our responsibilities extremely seriously.”

He said he would expect that all council members want to attend as many meetings during the year as possible, along with serving on various subcommittees, which at times may meet on a non-council evening.

“I also understand that is not always possible due to various unforeseen circumstances such as illness, personal loss, work schedule conflicts, vacations, etc.,” he said. “I initially explain to all of the members that I expect them out of courtesy to let me know ahead of time when they cannot make a meeting and that has never been an issue. If on an extremely rare occasion, which I have not experienced to date, a councilor was unable to attend successive meetings without communicating to me why in advance, then I would discuss this with that individual directly.”

Comments

There apparently no incentives to attend these meetings; there are no sick days, no benefit of vacation time or comp days. Therefore, it appears that Mr Rudd owes the Pawtucket taxpayers $2,750 and the other city council members should return the unearned funds that they were paid for meetings that they failed to attend as well. Certainly you folks would not want to appear to be guilty of “Receiving money under false pretenses, would you?