Friday, August 29, 2014

85% of ANC1A commissioners go to their meetings, but a few miss most meetings

Yesterday I wrote about commissioners in ANC1B, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for southern Columbia Heights and U Street: turns out some of them rarely go to their own meetings. One commissioner, Deborah Thomas, only went to 1/3, while a couple others only made 57%. ANC1B as a whole attended only 71% of their own meetings, meaning they aren't representing the constituents who elected them almost 30% of the time, and also meaning a few times the meetings didn't reach a quorum, so no votes could be taken.

I decided to do the same thing for ANC1A, which covers northern Columbia Heights (roughly north of Girard, see the map below.) Turns out, ANC1A does a much better job of making their meetings, with a total attendance of 85%. There were a few bad apples: commissioner Thomas Boisvert of 1A07 only made 7 our of 16 meetings, or 44%, and 1A04's Morgan Corr only went to 6 of the 11 meetings while he's been on the commission. Boisvert and Corr have also missed the last 6 and 4 meetings, respectively. Neither are running for reelection, which seems like a good thing. (Of course, there may be some good reason for them missing so many meetings. I reached out to both, will let you know what they say. Update: Corr responded, see below.) Daniel Kornfield of 1A01 also only attended 63% of his meetings.

However, some members did a great job: chair Kent Boese (1A08), Rosalind Gilliam (1A12) and Vickey Wright-Smith (1A02) made every meeting, while Patrick Flynn (1A06) only missed one while Anthony Cimino (1A10), Kevin Holmes (1A05) and Dottie Love Wade (1A11) only missed two. Others who served shorter terms also made all their meetings.

So it looks like, as representation goes, ANC1A members take their jobs seriously. Glad to see it.

Here's all the data below, gathered from the minutes posted on ANC1A's website, and from chair Kent Boese. They don't meet in August.

Update: Got an email back from Morgan Corr:  "Unfortunately, I now have a standing professional obligation which prevents my attendance at full ANC meetings, and I'm not running for re-election because of that conflict. However, since the time these obligations started preventing my attendance the time had passed when a new commissioner could legally be appointed to fill the seat had I resigned. I resolved to hold the seat and do my best to address constituent concerns until the end of the term when a new commissioner could be elected. 

I remain dedicated to Columbia Heights and the further growth & improvement of our neighborhood, and look forward to supporting the new Commissioner in my SMD when he or she is elected."


Matt Goldschmidt said...

I'm running for Mr. Corr's vacant seat in a contested election. I appreciate Mr. Corr responding and his promised support if I'm elected, but I know of many constituents to whom he never responded. As a commenter in the other thread notes, no one on the actual commission seemed to know that Mr. Corr had a conflict. He also was unresponsive to efforts to coordinate community-wide rat abatement early in his tenure. Lastly, Mr. Corr made no arrangement to have a representative from SMD04 come to meetings in his stead, even if proxy voting isn't allowed. By communicating with his constituents, Mr. Corr could have avoided a lot of hard feelings among his constituency -- hard feelings he seems not to know exist.

If elected, I look forward to serving and sincerely hope Mr. Corr will continue his civic participation and take an interest in the goings on in the neighborhood. I appreciate the original post and this follow-up, Andrew.

Anonymous said...

My general experience both having served as a commissioner and as a constituent working with my commissioner has been, a commissioner is most effective when their constituents are actively engaged. Particularly engaged beyond cliquish and "me me" issues. While commissioners need to be responsive, they are not the neighborhood bellhop.

The challenge is often, people run for the commission having rarely engaged with their ANC nor seriously with broader neighborhood issues. The job is not easy and folk feel they can jump in having done little homework.

Showing up for meetings is important, but most time and work as a Commissioner is spent outside of monthly meetings. Part of the challenge is we have some who are eager to critic but offer little in real support when its time to do neighborhood/community work.


Sandra Sauls said...

It's a good time to take stock of how ANC commissioners are supporting their various Single Member Districts. Although I don't live in 1A01, I'm a strong supporter of Marvin Johnson. He has worked tirelessly for DC citizens, starting with his prior work as the Development Director at Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care, an excellent non-profit. He continues advocating strongly for his neighbors of 1A01 on issues of concern to them.