The Monday night meeting of the Great Bend City Council was almost the meeting that didn’t happen.
Council meetings are set to start at 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at the City Office, 1209 Williams. The council consists of eight members – Randy Myers, Ken Roberts, Dana Dawson, Joel Jackson, Nels Lindberg, Dale Westoff, Allene Owen and Mitch Haney.
For the council to act, a quorum must be present. As a basic civics lesson, a quorum is the minimum number of members of a governing body necessary to conduct the business of that group, in the council’s case, that would be five. Without a quorum, the only thing the assembly can do is set an alternative meeting time and date.
So, as 7:30 rolled around Monday night, Mayor Mike Allison was present, City Administrator Howard Partington was present. City Attorney Bob Suelter was present. Council members Roberts, Jackson, Westoff and Owen were present (that’s only four).
City officials knew Haney was going to be gone and that Lindberg was going to be on vacation. They did not know about Myers and Dawson being absent.
The council chamber was filled with folks present to talk about agenda items including a hearing on a property abatement and the proposal to establish a motocross track at the Great Bend Expo Complex. Allison apologized to those in the room and started discussions about when to reschedule.
Thankfully, Dawson was contacted and at about 7:40, he arrived after running behind.
It was only 10 minutes and the business of the city was handled. But, it is unfortunate that those who seek an office, presumably wanting to serve the community, just don’t show up.
Sure, there may have been extenuating circumstances. But, in an era of e-mail, cell phones and texts, it doesn’t take much effort to notify someone of scheduling conflicts, even if they arise all of a sudden.
And, granted, council members don’t get paid for their service. But, their service is a commitment to those who elected them. Perhaps, if one’s profession creates regular conflicts, one might want to reconsider running for office.