Council votes against adding motion to require members to attend in person

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The Burien City Council rejected by 4-3 a motion by Councilmember Debi Wagner to add to the agenda Monday night (March 20) to change its rules to make it a requirement that all Councilmembers be personally in attendance at meetings in order to have any vote recorded.

The move appeared to be aimed at the constant attendance on the telephone by Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz.

Councilmember Stephen Armstrong was opposed because “I travel for business and I do take vacations now and then,” then said the matter of Council rules was on the schedule for a meeting in April so the discussion should be tabled until then.

Berkowitz said it was obviously aimed at her, and that it should be discussed at the time when other Council rules are on the agenda.

This issue will be discussed when the council meets on April 3.

The final vote for the matter to be discussed Monday night came from Wagner, supported by Councilmember Bob Edgar and Mayor Lucy Krakowiak.

Joining Berkowitz as opposed to it being added to Monday night’s agenda were Armstrong, Nancy Tosta, and Austin Bell.

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16 Responses to “Council votes against adding motion to require members to attend in person”
  1. Question Authority says:

    Working out of town or vacationing are drastically different scenarios which share absolutely no correlation with the problem at hand. Being absent for pure political reasons is self centered, selfish, foolish and asinine. This whole affair by the single action of Bezerkoitz has gone on long enough, and the item when discussed in April better stop this nonsense and waste of City time and resources dealing with her self centered persona.

  2. leroy says:

    Well, you city council folks have accomplished one thing. You have motivated a moderate, not very active political person, to spend time, money, and do everything I can to defeat you in the next election.

    I have a feeling I am not alone.

    If I were you I would not quite your day job, you may need it in a few months

  3. Michael says:

    No other city council in this country has a rule like that. But you do need a quorum for any vote, as this council learned after the fact.
    If someone is percieved as dodging controversial votes, or their attendance is such that they are absent more than present, Voters need to do their job and make the absence permanent.

    • Lakeview Too says:

      Your comment is well reasoned and thoughtful. Tacoma does however have a bylaw that limits the number of members at one time and the number of instances that an individual council member can be permitted to and the city make arrangements for that”telephonically” attend, except for medical exceptions I believe. Probably because of concerns that if everyone were on teleconference (traveling, etc) at the same time it couldn’t be considered a public meeting, and to allow for different council members to be traveling. There is a PDF available from Tacoma City Council online reflecting this. In a “digital” age cities are increasingly looking at how to manage technology. (video conferencing, social media use, etc). They need to do some background research before they make any decisions.

      • Lakeview Too says:

        On a side note, but still on technology, I thought that Radio Guy, who gave a presentation at the beginning, was awesome! Thank you for all that you do!

  4. Joel A. Manning says:

    Tonight I heard four council members make it completely clear that they wish to be serving their final terms.

    • Sam Smith says:

      I hope it wasn’t the wrong 4. If you start in the middle of the seated council members and go left, those are the 4 that need to leave.

    • Captain obvious says:

      So if you’re to run for city council would vote to get rid of maternity leave or medical leave for female council members that you don’t agree with there education,life style, career, or voting process.

      Also are willing to run against a female lawyer that currently is a council member possibly on maternity/medical leave. That seat on council is up in December that might try to get reelected.

      Now your letter to the editor had a lot of assumptions like most of the comments now I personally don’t agree with some this council members actions ether. But she does have a right to give birth and take care of her child if that is what she really doing . Now it seems as she has agreements with the council to use the phone to represent her at meetings. Ok so what I have to wonder why is it so many people that don’t like this council member would complain that she not showing up she still is doing what ever it is she does as a council member. Just because you don’t agree with her she shouldn’t have any rights as any other person . If you really take the time to look in the mirror and ask do you want tobe that person.

  5. Heather says:

    PATHETIC…….When will that meeting happen? Because I will be sure to attend & voice my opinion on how redonkulous her actions are as well as the other council members who condone this type of behavior. I still think they should take her phone privileges away & then see if she shows.

  6. PONYGIRL says:

    This council person needs to resign! There are so many citizens ready to serve and show up!

  7. Tom Taaffe says:

    I suspect that the councilperson in question will not file for election again. But who knows
    I suspect that the councilperson in question will not file for reelection but who knows
    the level of shamelessness involved here.
    As I recall her election campaign trumpeted an evil Jack Block gag Christmas card featuring a young lady in a skimpy Santa Costume. This was it – and the voters bit. It was “crooked Hillary” emotionalism on the municipal scale.
    A seriously underqualified individual was elected. Who is to blame? Look in the mirror folks and give some critical evaluation to genuine qualifications next time. Tom

  8. PJ says:

    The fact that it’s been allowed to go on for over a year and the rest of the council hasn’t bothered to re-visit the rules is beyond me. It’s clear to me that the reason CM Berkowitz is absent is so that she can tweet and Facebook throughout the meeting, in that, she is disparaging the citizens that are IN attendance. November isn’t that far away, but if we’re lucky the council members that are up for re election will be…

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