February 8, 2013

The importance of ‘showing up’

February 8, 2013 The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Woody Allen is often credited for the line: “Ninety percent of life is just showing up.” Unfortunately, for a couple of area governing/oversight entities lately, they have been unable to do official business because too few officials are attending the meetings.

To officially meet, governing entities need a quorum, which is having a majority of the members present. Say, a city council, for example, has four voting council members and a mayor, three council members must be present to officially meet and officially vote on council business. If two council members miss a meeting, this particular city council cannot meet, according to the terms of its respective charter.

Same goes, for say an authority, where members are selected to serve instead of elected. If too few attend a meeting, the authority cannot officially vote on agenda items.

Sometimes, things happen, uncontrollable things, family matters, business concerns, crises. There are emergencies that make missing quorum once in a rare moon unavoidable. But not making quorum two meetings in a row? Or more?

Granted, even without a quorum, a council and an authority can hear presentations, look over materials, hear complaints from people wondering why the officials cannot officially meet, but neither the council nor the authority can act upon anything because too many members opted out of showing up.

And showing up for these scheduled meetings to conduct business may not be 90 percent of the job of a council member or authority member, but it likely comes close.

Anyone considering accepting an authority position, or anyone planning to run for a government seat and win should consider Woody Allen’s old saying as a mandate.

If you can’t show up for meetings at least 90       percent of the time, you shouldn’t have sought office or volunteered for an authority seat in the first place.

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