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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

February 2, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Grading the attendance of Seattle City Council members

They have other duties, but Seattle City Council members primarily go to meetings – a lot of meetings.

There were 48 full council meetings and more than 200 committee meetings in 2014, according to a review of council meeting attendance by The Seattle Times.

And most of the time, the council members showed up.

Members are required to attend each of council’s weekly “full council” meetings unless granted an excused absence by the rest of the council. No council member missed more than five of the 48 full council meetings in 2014 and only one absence was unexcused.

Members are expected to attend the meetings of each committee they belong to. Most committees have just three members, but some have nine. Some committees meet more frequently than others.

Gauging how often council members miss committee meetings isn’t an exact science, however.

Clerks take attendance by hand. Those records, for now, are kept in paper form. When council members sometimes show up late to meetings or leave early, they may or may not be counted as present.

Furthermore, while The Times review found  attendance tallied for 168 committee meetings, it also found no attendance tallied for an additional 60 meetings.

In overall committee meetings attended, based on the 168 for which attendance records were available, Nick Licata was tops. He was present for 82. Tom Rasmussen landed at the bottom, showing up for 57.

Nick Licata – 82
Mike O’Brien – 77
Sally Bagshaw – 77
Jean Godden – 73
Bruce Harrell – 72
Tim Burgess – 70
Sally Clark – 70
Kshama Sawant – 64
Tom Rasmussen – 57

Sally Bagshaw was present for 93 percent of the committee meetings she was expected to attend, beating out all eight of her colleagues. Rasmussen was recorded as present for 69 percent of his meetings.

Sally Bagshaw – 93%
Jean Godden – 91%
Mike O’Brien – 91%
Nick Licata – 87%
Tim Burgess – 86%
Sally Clark – 86%
Bruce Harrell – 80%
Kshama Sawant – 75%
Tom Rasmussen – 69%

It’s possible that council members’ meeting attendance will lag after this year’s elections, as the council moves to representation by geographic districts for seven of its nine seats.

Some members may find themselves more concerned with happenings in the neighborhoods than with meetings at City Hall.

Comments | More in Local government, Politics Northwest, Seattle City Council | Topics: 2015 Seattle City Council elections, attendance, meetings

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