Wait a minute, what did he just say?

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

One of the things I consider to be interesting about what I do for a living is covering meetings.

Oh, they’re not necessarily fun, but they are very important. And I learned a long time ago that sometimes people will say the darndest things in public meetings. Usually it results in spectators saying, “Wait a minute, what did he just say?”

Last month, for example, when Henry County Judge Executive John Logan Brent suggested magistrates turn back pay if they don’t attend meetings, there was considerable discussion. As a voter in the county, I certainly found the notion intriguing. After all, we do elect our leaders to lead, which, unless I’m missing something, means attending meetings. Brent’s initial proposal included committee meetings.

But Magistrate David Brown had an interesting take on this one, and one that made me do a double take during the open, public meeting.

“The law just says you have to be on the committee, not that you have to come to the meetings.”

Wait a minute, what did he just say?

Now, I’ll say up front, I don’t usually cover the committee meetings, so I can’t say if attendance at those meetings has been an issue. And, for the most part, the magistrates have good attendance to the monthly court meetings.

As a voter, I personally expect someone we elect to attend meetings that are of interest or importance to my community. That is, afterall, what we elect them to do. And yes, I know that elected leadership is about more than just attending meetings.

Magistrates in Henry County earn $1,265.86 a month (more if they attend training sessions, which Brown does). The average Fiscal Court meeting runs one to two hours long.

That’s not too shabby a haul for only one “required” meeting a month.


Jonna can be reached at editor@hclocal.com