Absent Council: Voters to Decide If Missing 12 Meetings is Too Many
The St. Charles County Council approved putting a number of charter amendments on the November ballot.
St. Charles County voters will be asked to decide whether a council member should be removed from the council after accruing 12 consecutive unexcused absences. Council meetings are typically held twice a month.
That's one of several charter amendments voters will consider Nov. 6. The others include a countywide smoking ban and exemptions to that ban, and whether to create a county police agency to handle the law enforcement duties which would be led by an appointed police chief.
The missed meetings issue arose after St. Charles County Councilman Paul Wynn began working as an independent contractor in Afghanistan in October 2011. Wynn was only able to participate in meetings via phone and unable to vote. He lost his bid for reelection in the August primary.
Wynn said via phone on Monday that he felt the people spoke during the election and that this issue is based on his specific case.
Council President Nancy Matheny said she believes voters should not have to wait four years to have someone represent them- the length of a council term.
Voters will also decide whether the county executive should have the ability to appoint someone to fill a council seat after someone quits or is removed, rather than hold a special election to fill the position.
"An election can cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars," Councilman Joe Brazil said.
Other charter amendment questions that voters will see in November ask voters whether the county should:
- Provide written notice to other municipalities and governmental entities to participate in the Countywide Master Plan if they choose,
- Require that ordinances requiring a penalty for violation be placed in full on the St. Charles County website and posted in six locations,
- Make a technical amendment that requires the County executive be presented with bills within three days and a veto override be taken within 30 days of veto,
- Require the county executive to submit the proposed budget for the following fiscal year by November,
- Prohibit an officer from accepting any service or compensation directly or indirectly from a person having dealings with the county,
- Provide County Executive oversight of working conditions of all employees in the county along with the authority to investigate and take action to prevent gross mismanagement, harassment or discrimination against employees.