Kevin Boozer Staff Writer
January 8, 2014
FAIRFIELD COUNTY — According to Fairfield County Councilman Mikel Trapp, constituents outside of his district, District 3, will see more of him this spring at county council meetings.
After the Dec. 23 meeting of Fairfield County Council, Trapp said his spring coursework at Columbia College will not interfere with Monday meetings as it did this past fall. Instead he will take Tuesday/Thursday classes this spring which he said will coincide better with his council obligations.
Review of council minutes shows Trapp attended just 25 meetings in 2013. He missed eight work sessions, nine regular meetings, and seven specially called meetings.
This fall Trapp claimed his absences to attend pre-calculus classes at Columbia College were made with the express consent of members of his district per a mass mailing he said he sent out in July. However, when requested multiple times by The Herald Independent to provide a copy of the letter, Trapp did not do so.
Random calling of over 60 members of his district by Herald staff failed to find one constituent who remembered receiving such a letter. Trapp said the letter asked constituents’ permission before he would take the Columbia College course that conflicted with evening council meetings.
When contacted by The Herald Independent under the Freedom of Information Act, the county had no records of receipts to reimburse Trapp for any postage to send such a mailing to his constituents.
Trapp, however, did send around a happy holidays letter to some of his constituents, one of whom shared a copy with The Herald Independent.
In the November letter he stated that in his opinion “his repeated absences from meetings in no way affected how hard I work for District 3.” As of November, per Trapp’s tally in the letter, he said he had missed 10 meetings and attended 12 scheduled meetings from January through November 2013.
His tally in the letter also was that he missed 10 called meetings, the special meetings or work sessions, from January to November 2013. Trapp said seven of those absences were due to scheduling conflicts and the rest were due to his classes at Columbia College.
Comparison with his colleagues shows Trapp attended the fewest council meetings in 2013.
Councilman David Brown attended the second fewest council meetings at 33, but many of the meetings Brown missed, he said, were at the advice of his doctor while Brown took treatments for cancer. Despite treatments for a serious illness, overall in 2013, Brown missed seven work sessions, six specially called meetings and just three regular meetings.
He later announced at a fall council meeting that he was cancer free. Since that time, he attended every meeting from Aug. 26 until the end of the year.
Chairman David Ferguson had perfect attendance with 49 total meetings attended in 2013, as did Mary Lynn Kinely, who attended 49. Dwayne Perry attended 48 meetings, with his lone absence being an Aug. 14 work session. Carolyn Robinson attended 48 meetings with her lone absence being an April 11 work session. Kamau Marcharia attended 45 meetings with absences at four specially scheduled meetings on April 15, June 5, July 11 and July 17.
During the final meeting of 2013 county council had perfect attendance.
Following an executive session at that meeting, county council announced that Interim County Administrator Milton Pope received a six-month contract extension, effective Jan. 1. The county will pay Pope $10,833.33 per month, as it has thus far.
Under the agreement, Pope would have to give the county a minimum 30 days notice before resigning his position. The county also included language stating the contract could be terminated for cause for any of five reasons: commission or omission of any act, which in the county’s opinion, is intended to cause, causes, or is reasonably likely to cause hard to the county, including harm to its reputation; indictment for commission or perpetration of any crime involving dishonesty, more turpitude or fraud; material breech of the agreement; violation of county policies; or exhibition of a standard of behavior that is disruptive to the orderly conduct of the county’s business operations at a level which, in the county’s opinion, is detrimental to the county’s best interest.