Plateau mayor Luc Ferrandez has come under fire for skipping Montreal city council meetings.
Ferrandez has missed more than half of the 72 meetings- and makes no apologies for his less than stellar attendance record.
“It’s true that I don’t show up at council meetings as much as the other guys in the party. But I have lots of work to do here,” he said, referring to his borough.
Ferrandez has the worst attendance record at city hall.
Since the end of 2009, he’s made it to 27 of the 72 meetings.
Of those 45 absences, only 10 were for a valid reason, such as an illness or representing his borough at an event.
But Ferrandez says his record speaks for itself.
Accomplished just as much
“I think in a year and a half we have accomplished as much as other administrations have done in 12 years,” he said.
Ferrandez said he gets more work done for his constituents by working in the borough, rather than going to council meetings.
It’s a statement his party colleagues agree with.
“Day in, day out, 10, 15 hours a day, 70, 80, 90 hours a week, Luc has, at great cost to his own personal life and his pocketbook, looking out for the interests of the Plateau,” said Alex Norris, a Mile End city councillor.
But political watchdogs don’t agree.
‘[It’s] their job’
Former city councillor Karim Boulos said attending city council meetings is an important part of the job.
“I think it’s mainly to do with a lack of discipline. People elect these representatives and their job is to be there to voice the concerns of their constituents,” Boulos said.
On Tuesday, Plateau residents also expressed their displeasure with the councillor.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said one Plateau resident. “I don’t think he’s the first, and I don’t think he’s the last.”
“He’s so preoccupied with himself, he consults no one. He’s just there for himself,” said another.
St-Laurent borough Mayor Alan Desousa has one of the best attendance sheets on record at city hall.
He said mayors from every borough should be at council meetings to address issues brought up by citizens.
He also noted a second important reason:
“City council makes major decisions, spending millions of dollars to make sure the city is well run, and the place where it happens, that’s where the decisions are made,” Desousa said.
$100 fine per meeting
Ferrandez is fined every time he misses a vote at council.
“I’m paying $100 when I miss one, and still sometimes I prefer to stay here and work on problems we have,” he said.
He said he’d likely attend more council meetings if there was a heftier fine for skipping them.