Councilman McClure has best attendance

January 29, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Since taking office in June 1997, Hagerstown City Councilman J. Wallace McClure has attended more council meetings than any city politician.

McClure has missed two of the 78 council work sessions or voting sessions during the past 20 months, according to a review of council meeting attendance done by City Clerk Gann Breichner.

McClure said he was on vacation during both of those meetings.

During that period:

* Councilman Lewis C. Metzner, who had four family members die during 1998, missed 13 meetings.

* Councilman William M. Breichner had 10 absences.

* Councilman Alfred W. Boyer missed six meetings.

* Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein missed five meetings.

* Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II missed four council sessions.

Overall, either the mayor or one council member was absent from 33 of those meetings, or about 42 percent, according to the review.


At least three council members were at every meeting, meaning there was always a quorum and no council session had to be canceled.

"I have no complaints with attendance," Bruchey said. "Everybody who misses meetings misses them for good reasons."

Bruchey said his absences came on days when he was either representing the city in Hagerstown's sister city, Wesel, Germany, or in the hospital.

Ten of the 13 meetings Metzner missed were due to family obligations. He spent time caring for his father, who had cancer, and dealing with the deaths and funerals of his father, mother, grandfather and wife's stepmother, Metzner said.

Before missing each meeting Metzner reviewed his options and "decided the taxpayers and citizens and even my fellow council members would think much less of me had I abandoned my family responsibilities," Metzner said during a council meeting last Tuesday.

Breichner said only two or three of the 10 meetings he missed were voting sessions. Most of the meetings he missed while away on business were work sessions.

"The workshops are basically meetings to go over ideas and get a consensus. But the regular (voting) meetings are the key," he said.

Breichner said he felt that himself and his fellow council members did a good job of attending the meetings.

Boyer said he was surprised to find out he had missed six meetings. He was out of town for those meetings, he said.

Saum-Wicklein has missed five meetings for personal reasons, she said.

Council members receive an annual salary of $8,000.

The mayor's annual salary is $28,000.

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