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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Monterey Park : Board Absences to Cost Job

June 16, 1988

Because of concerns about absenteeism at city commission meetings, the City Council voted 3 to 1 to require dismissal of board members who miss more than 25% of the meetings during a year.

"It won't affect those stalwart, dedicated commissioners," said Councilman Barry L. Hatch.

Before the council took the action Monday, several commissioners expressed displeasure over the proposal. Patricia Chin, vice chairman of the Planning Commission said: "You are not making allowances . . . for unexpected occurrences. I say attendance . . . is not a measure of commitment. We are, after all, dealing with adults, not children."

The threat of dismissal, she said, would deter "vital, active and interested people" from serving on city boards.

Under the new rules, city officials said, no absence would be excused, including those caused by hospitalization or a death in the family.

Hatch said he has not missed a council meeting since he was elected in April, 1986, and that the requirement to attend 75% of a board's meetings is not harsh.

But Councilwoman Betty Couch, who cast the only dissenting vote, asked: "Who's going to be the person policing and watching?" Enforcement would be applied arbitrarily, she said.

Mayor Christopher F. Houseman, who missed the council meeting because he was representing the city at the United States Conference of Mayors in Salt Lake City, said by telephone from Utah that he thought it was a waste of time for the council to spend time on such policies.

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