Sanders Defends Council Attendance Record
By Howard Schwach
In the wake of a report that City Councilman James Sanders, who represents portions of Rockaway, had the worst attendance record in the council, Sanders went on the offensive, stating that he was "serving his community" during the times he was absent.
"Last year was not a banner year for me in terms of attendance," Sanders, who attended only 71.2 percent of his council responsibilities in 2006, told The Wave in a recent interview. "What we had in my district was a banner year of crisis."
Sanders cited numerous deadly fires, several youth killings and the Sean Bell case as examples of events that took him to his district rather than to council committee meetings.
"It was obviously more important for me to be with the folks in my district than at some committee meetings studying technology in the Bronx," he said.
Records released by the City Council show that more than a dozen members failed to show up for about 20 percent of their required appearances and committee meetings.
While Sanders was the worst offender in 2006, two of his close colleagues, Councilman Charles Barrron and Councilman Larry Seabrook were not far behind with attendance records of 71.4 percent and 72.3 percent respectively.
Prior to the last election in 2006, Sanders was charged with missing many meetings. At that time, he chalked it up to the long-term illness and passing of his mother.
Records show that his attendance record is much better in 2007, however. So far, he has made 84.2 percent of his meetings.