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County OKs attedance policy

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POSTED: August 10, 2009 10:39 a.m.
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Commission Chairman John McIver

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School-aged kids aren’t the only ones with attendance policies and anyone in a Liberty County public office who misses three meetings in a row may have to give up their seat.
Liberty County commissioners approved an attendance policy at their monthly meeting Tuesday night. Now if an appointed member of a board under the commission’s control misses three regular meetings in a row or 45 percent of meetings a year commissioners can consider it a vacancy.
“That doesn’t mean that they’ll be removed from [office]. That just brings the matter up before the board,” County Attorney Kelly Davis said. “It’s up to you folks to either accept or reject the resignation.”
Davis presented the written draft after discussion in previous meetings.
Appointed boards would be required to sign the agreement. Members of entities not directly controlled by the commission would be asked to sign, according to Davis.
“This could become a policy of the board of commissioners in regard to making appointments to various boards and agencies we have control over,” said Chairman John McIver.
The new policy was largely influenced by a questioned vacancy on the industrial authority late last year.
Graylan Quarterman, former Liberty County Development Authority member, waited nearly half a year for LCDA and the commissioners to decide if he could have a year-long leave of absence.
The two governments questioned who was responsible for approving the request, but Quarterman solved the issue by resigning.
“It’s a physical absence,” Davis said of the new policy. “And it really doesn’t matter under Georgia law…you can’t officially participate in a meeting by telephone.”
Commissioner Gary Gilliard was concerned military duty was included but not illness.
McIver asked if there were excused absences.
“They’re really not empowered to grant excuses,” Davis said. “In all situations, regardless of how justifiable the absence they’re going to come before this board…and then it’s up to you folks to decide if they should stay in office.”
Davis explained the rules were just recommended and chosen because other bodies adopted similar standards.
“I probably wouldn’t recommend anything more severe than these,” Davis said of the policy loosely patterned after other county boards.
Commissioner Eddie Walden pointed out that the board only appoints and commissioners are elected officials.
“This policy will have nothing to do with any commissioners sitting on this board,” Walden said.
 

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