Members of the City Council need to work on their excuse-making skills. In the last year, one fifth of them showed up to 75 percent or fewer mandatory committee meetings.
Maria Baez (D-Bronx) wins the award for the most absences, having missed 44 percent of the meetings.
Next is James Sanders (D-Queens), who graced the council with his presence only 61 percent of the time. He has been recovering from a serious car accident he was in eight months ago. This excuse only took him so far; only three of his absences were excused.
The process for determining an excused absence requires detailed documentation and review by Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office, something James Gennaro (D-Queens) is unfamiliar with.
Gennaro's absences were mysteriously unexcused. He only attended 66 percent of the required meetings due to a sensitive family situation. “Sadly, for the last seven months, Councilman Gennaro has had to dedicate much of his time to the care of a seriously ill family member,” Brad Groznik told the New York Post.
It seems as though the Dems need to work on their scheduling. Next on the list is Sara Gonzalez (D-Brooklyn), who is constantly attending other meetings for her position as the lead budget negotiator for the Brooklyn delegation and taking care of a seriously ill family member. Quinn is aware of both situations.
The reason for such lackadaisical behavior is attributed to the delay in start time of the meetings. They often begin late, in which case many members will go back to their district offices.
The sign-in-and-go routine is not only found in college: many city council members attend for the first few minutes and leave without punishment.
Hats off to Quinn and Tony Avella (D-Queens), who both have perfect attendance records.