Tollison has been under some scrutiny over the past few months because he missed eight consecutive council meetings after he took a new position with his company. Community members even mentioned his prolonged absence during public comment time at a council meeting in August.
“Understandably, my absence from meetings for the last few months has some asking questions on my ability to remain a council member as well as honoring the ability to effectively represent the members of District 5 and the county at-large,” said Tollison. “I want everyone to know that while I am not physically able to be at each meeting, I have continued to serve and represent the constituents of my elected district by emails, text and telephone while out of state.
“I will be the first to admit the meetings are an important part of running our local government but I also know most residents of our awesome county understand an effective council members’ core service is done before or after the meetings.”
Rumors have been swirling about what Tollison would do as his travel schedule with work is not currently accommodating his council schedule.
“I have prayed about and struggled with resigning this council seat,” said Tollison. “Discussions with several council and staff members and my family has led me to the decision that I am going to continue my service as the District 5 council member.”
Tollison said that several factors led him to make this decision. He said he expects his work schedule to change so he can return to regular attendance at meetings. He also does not want to burden the county with a special election for his district that could cost as much as $14,000 of non-budgeted money. That special election would also fill the District 5 seat for less than a calendar year.
Later in the meeting, community member Brenda Stewart addressed council about considering amending council policy and procedures to include attendance requirements and adjustments to compensation for council members that miss meetings.
Stewart began her comments by telling Councilman Tollison that her request has nothing to do with his situation. “I applaud your commitment to uphold your position,” said Stewart.
Stewart stated that her intention was not to focus on individual members but to have a plan in place in the event that more than one council member faced the same dilemma at the local level.
Her plan presented to council involved three points:
-Three excused absences be allowed.
-Council members be allowed to remotely attend meetings (via Skype, conference call, etc.) three times a year.
-Make adjustments to compensation if you can’t attend meetings on a regular basis.
Council took Stewart’s recommendations as information.