Knapp heads list of councillors who missed meetings in 2007

If municipal councillors in Wel­­l­ington County were graded on their attendance at meetings, there’s a few that would be lagging behind the rest of the class.
The Wellington Advertiser sur­veyed all seven lower tier municipalities in Wellington County last week and found a few councillors had worse attendance records in 2007 than the rest of their peers.
But as expected, most councillors had good attendance records at regularly scheduled council meetings last year.
Of 39 councillors in seven municipalities, eleven had perfect attendance (28%), 23 missed between one and three meetings (59%), and just five councillors missed four or more meetings (13%).
Councillors Roger Knapp, John Matusinec, and Reta Moy­­er were the three most regular absentees during 2007.
Knapp, of Guelph-Eramosa, missed nine of 22 regular council meetings (41%) – far more than any other councillor in the county. He also got off to a poor start again in 2008 by missing Monday’s council meet­ing.
Knapp did not return a call from The Advertiser.
Wellington North’s John Matusinec is next on the list, having missed six of 31 regular meetings (19%) last year.
Matusinec said he missed two or three meetings because of illness, and a couple because of conflicts with his role on Well­ington North Power, and then he had holidays.
Moyer, also of Guelph-Eramosa council, is tied with Wellington North’s Ross Chaulk and Minto’s Rick Hembly at four absences each.
However, Guelph-Eramosa had fewer regular meetings than Wellington North and Minto, so Moyer actually miss­ed a higher percentage of meetings (18%) than Chaulk (13%) and Hembly (17%).
Several other councillors throughout the county missed 14% to 17% of regular meetings.
When reached for comment, Moyer said she missed one council meeting because she was  representing the township at another meeting.
“I can’t be in two places at the same time,” she said, add­ing she also missed meetings in November and December be­cause she was ill.
Other trends
There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to the absences for any councillors in the county -with the exception of Knapp and Moyer, whose attendance seemed to worsen as the year progressed.
Moyer missed three of the last four meetings of the year, while Knapp missed four of the last five. And all of Knapp’s ab­sences came after May 7, which means he missed nine of 13 meetings (64%) after that date.
Knapp and Moyer are also the only councillors in the county to miss three consecutive regular meetings.
Mayor Chris White and councillor Doug Breen had no absences in 2007. Councillor John Scott missed three meetings, though two of those were court ordered after Moyer charged him with assault (the charge was later dismissed).
In total, Guelph-Eramosa council had 16 combined absences in 22 meetings – the worst mark in the county.
When asked if that level of absenteeism affects his council, White said as long as there is a quorum (three councillors present), coun­cil can conduct regular business.
The mayor acknowledged that some absences are out of the control of councillors, but said it is best for the community as a whole to have a representative from each ward at every meeting.
He suggested the amount of absences on his council may be excessive.
“It’s unfortunate if you have personal issues or conflicts, but  as a councillor, there’s a point when you have to ask yourself if you have enough time to do the job,” White said.
Centre Wellington
The township had 18 regular council meetings in 2007, with full attendance at 12 of those meetings.
Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj and councillors Robert Foster, Ron Hallman, and Walt Visser had full attendance.
Councillor Kirk McElwain missed one meeting, councillor Shawn Watters missed two, and councillor Fred Morris miss­ed three.
During 22 regular meetings last year, Erin council had   seven absentees. Coun­cillor John Brennan had perfect attendance, Mayor Rod Finnie and councillor Barb Tocher missed one meeting each, councillor Ken Chapman      miss­ed two, and councillor Jo­sie Wintersinger missed three.
Over 22 regular meetings Mapleton councillors had six combined absences.
Councillor Mike Downey had no absences; councillors Bruce Whale, Jim Curry, and Dennis Craven had one absence each; and Mayor John Green had three.
Councillors Larry Agla and Wayne Martin had perfect at­tendance over 23 regular council meetings, and the rest of council combined for 11 missed meetings.
Deputy-Mayor Judy Dirk­sen and councillor Barbara Burrows  missed one meeting each, Mayor David Anderson missed two meetings, councillor David Turton missed three, and councillor Rick Hembly missed four.
Over 24 regular council meet­ings in the 2007 calendar year, Puslinch council had six combined absences.
Councillor Matthew Bul­mer had none, councillors Don McKay and Dick Visser missed one meeting each, and Mayor Brad Whitcombe and councillor Susan Fielding missed two each.
Wellington North
Over 31 regular council meetings last year, Wellington North council had 15 absences.
Councillor Dan Yake had one absence, Mayor Mike Broomhead and councillor Bob Mason had two each, councillor Ross Chaulk had four, and councillor John Matusinec had six.