Charleston City Council passes new rules to enforce attendance policy
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Tuesday evening, Charleston City Council passed new rules that fix a number of issues WSAZ uncovered during the December investigation - Missed Meetings and Million-Dollar Votes.
The new rule, passed Tuesday night, creates a way for Charleston City Council to enforce an attendance policy already on the books, but as WSAZ found out could not be used.
This new rule defines what is an excused and unexcused absence.
Under the new rule, City Council members must email the City Clerk by 5 p.m. the day of a meeting saying they will not be there.
The meeting minutes would then say someone was granted an excused absence.
To be excused, an absence must be for a business, family, medical or personal reason.
Charleston City Council President, Becky Ceperley, told WSAZ for our investigation she was working on creating this policy.
Tuesday night she spoke in support of the new rule and said it will help ensure council members do their job.
”If you don’t do anything at all and you just don’t show up and you don’t tell the clerk’s office, then it will be listed as an unexcused absence,” said Ceperley. “So it does two things, clarifies the Charter and what it means and it sets up a very simple process for what is an excused and unexcused absence from City Council meetings.”
The new rule also states that attendance by itself has no bearing on removing someone from office.
Even if someone misses three consecutive meetings, state code still prevents them from being automatically removed.
Under this new rule, if someone does not notify the city before a meeting, city council can still vote to excuse an absence after the fact.
If no notice is given, an absence will be considered unexcused.
WSAZ’s investigation has continued in recent weeks. Below is a look at overall attendance over the past three years:
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