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Hancock council member has missed several meetings

Other council members voted 3-0 not to pay for him to attend conference

May 13, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS
  • Nigel Dardar
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HANCOCK -- Hancock Town Council member Nigel Dardar has missed two consecutive council meetings and four consecutive budget meetings without notice or explanation to the rest of the council, Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy and other council members said Wednesday.

Dardar's unexplained absence and failure to return e-mails or phone calls led the other council members to vote 3-0 Wednesday not to pay for him to attend the Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City in June.

Reached at home by phone after the meeting, Dardar said he suffered a torn ligament in his knee April 14, the day of last month's council meeting. He said he had surgery April 28 and cannot bend his leg because of concern he will pull the sutures loose.

"The biggest problem is not being able to sit for a long time," he said. "With that leg in that straight position, it becomes extremely uncomfortable."

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Dardar attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the town's new museum Tuesday and Gov. Martin O'Malley's April 24 visit to the museum. He said he was able to attend those events because they did not require sitting for long periods of time.

In the meantime, he said he had been continuing to work on behalf of the town on projects such as facilitating an upcoming job fair.

When asked about his lack of communication with the mayor and council about his absence, Dardar said there had been "a lot of tension" between himself and the rest of the council in recent months.

Dardar said the rest of the council was not open to suggestions he made based on the way other towns approach "a wide variety of things," including a suggestion to institute performance reviews for key town employees.

"There's a lot of distrust, I think, that has been generated," he said.

Murphy said at the meeting he understood the need for council members to miss meetings, but he expected them to communicate about their reason for not attending.

Council members Tim Smith and Sinclair Hamilton called Dardar's absence "disrespectful" to the rest of the council and to the people of the town. Smith called on Dardar to resign if he did not intend to do the job he was elected to do.

Dardar had been scheduled to attend the MML conference with the mayor and two other councilmen. The town was to pay, for each of them, $399 in registration fees and $693.85 for hotel rooms, according to town staff.

When informed of the vote, Dardar said he was disappointed but not surprised and said he would consider paying his own way. He said he did not intend to resign.

"I do still feel like I still have a lot to offer Hancock," he said.

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