In December 2009, Washington was a few months away from the enactment of Obamacare. In Dixon, Rita Crundwell still had more than 2 years to go before she was caught stealing millions of dollars from the city.
That month also marked the last time that every Lee County Board member attended a regular meeting.
Starting in April 2010, member Kathy Hummel stopped attending meetings, with others saying her health had taken a turn for the worse. By 2011, Hummel wasn't returning calls from county officials, although there were reports of her being seen around town. It was unclear why she didn't resign.
Her term expired Nov. 30.
Hummel missed meetings 32 months in a row – a little shy of 3 years. For 30 of those meetings, others also didn't show. Hers was the only absence in just two of the meetings.
I looked through the minutes of the past 3 years of Lee County Board meetings to determine how many members were no-shows. During that time, the board held 36 regular meetings.
Here's what I found:
• Six missing at two meetings
• Five missing at two meetings
• Four missing at two meetings
• Three missing at 11 meetings
• Two missing at 15 meetings
• One missing at four meetings (One happened before Hummel started missing meetings and another this past December, after her term had ended.)
The 27-member Whiteside County Board has a better record. For four of its meetings – May, August and November 2011 and July 2012 – the board recorded perfect attendance.
The board had 33 meetings from 2010 to 2012; it doesn't meet during January:
Here's the Whiteside County Board rundown:
• Five missing at three meetings
• Four missing at three meetings
• Three missing at six meetings
• Two missing at six meetings
• One missing at 11 meetings
• Zero missing at four meetings
The only time board members can officially exercise their power is at meetings, where they vote on issues. So if they don't show up, their effectiveness is limited.
David Giuliani is a reporter for Sauk Valley Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525.