Coun. Les Ellsworth has missed the fewest meetings of all the members who have served on council in nearly three years since the October 2018 municipal election, online meeting minutes show.
Ellsworth has missed only two of 77 meetings that have been held since then, not including the most recent one Oct. 4 (the total includes the inaugural meeting, two annual organizational meetings, 10 special meetings and 64 regular meetings). The last time he wasn’t present at a council meeting was July 24, 2019, which was a special meeting. The only other meeting he missed was the regular meeting nine days earlier.
Former councillor and mayoral candidate Ron Matechuk asked at the Oct. 4 meeting if he could get attendance statistics for councillors, noting that the next municipal election is just over a year away.
“I notice most often it’s the same people missing and it’s quite often, it’s regular from what I’ve seen in previous councils,” Matechukk said. “”I know they’ll change. Once we get going they’ll start showing up but let’s see where they are now.”
The next best overall attendance records belong to mayor Colleen Smook and Coun. Jeff Fountain, who have each missed just four meetings. One of Fountain’s absences was from a special meeting. Special meetings, for time-sensitive issues that can’t wait until the next regular meeting, can be called with just a few days’ notice, may take place in the daytime and usually proceed provided a quorum of councillors have indicated that they can be present.
Councillors Duncan Wong and Earl Colbourne have both missed five meetings since this council’s inaugural meeting In November 2018. Three of Wong’s absences have been from special meeting, as have two of Colbourne’s.
Coun. Braden McMurdo is next on the list in raw number terms, with six absences, including two from special meetings. Coun. Brian Lundmark has missed eight meetings overall, one of which was a special meeting, the same total as deputy mayor Kathy Valentino, though four of her absences have been from special meetings. The late Judy Kolada also missed eight meetings during her time on this council, two of them from special meetings.
The record for the most absences belongs to Coun. Andre Proulx, with nine. Three of those absences were from special meetings and one was due to getting cut off while attending a meeting by phone.
In percentage terms, McMurdo is the current councillor most likely to be absent, as there have been only 25 meetings since he was sworn in as a councillor following a byelection about a year ago and he has not been present at 24 per cent of them. Proulx has missed about 13 per cent of meetings since joining council in the spring of 2019 following a previous byelection.
McMurdo, Lundmark and Proulx were all absent from the Oct. 4 meeting.