Proposed ordinance would penalize Decatur City council members for missing meetings

Decatur City Council members could soon be penalized for missing meetings. On Tuesday, council members talked about taking money out of each other’s paychecks.

Posted: Jan 21, 2020 6:25 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2020 4:28 AM

Decatur City Council members could soon be penalized for missing meetings. On Tuesday, council members talked about taking money out of each other’s paychecks.

City Council meetings show within the last two months, at least two council members missed at least two work sessions.

"You have a position to uphold and you should be there. If not, you should pay the penalty," said Decatur resident, Joann Damron.

"Where I worked at, if you didn't show up for work, you did not get paid. And that's how I feel about city council," said Decatur resident, Wayne Reed.

People in Decatur say they believe council members should show up to every meeting, unless it's a serious situation.

"You don't always have to have a doctor's excuse when you're sick. You just can't go," said Damron.

Council member Charles Kirby says the ordinance does not exempt a member with a doctors note from being fined.

"But last week when I was sick, I could have drug myself to the meeting. I think i would have infected most of the meeting there with the particular cold I had, so I think this should be thought out a little bit more," said Kirby.

Council members won’t say what’s behind the possible change, but in the past month, Billy Jackson, Chuck Ard and Charles Kirby have all missed meetings.

The proposed ordinance states if a council members fails to attend a scheduled work session or council meeting resulting in three or more absences during a single month, their salary will be docked $200.00 for each absence that month.

"That is a little extreme. I could see taking a hundred dollars out," said Reed.

"It's a little steep, but it will get their attention," said Damron.

People I talked with say they hope consequences like these will encourage council members to attend every meeting.

"Once they get the attention that they will lose money, they will show up, they really will," said Reed.

The city says hospitalization will exempt council members from the fine.

The council is scheduled to vote on the new ordinance in about two weeks.

The ordinance would not go into effect until November 2.

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