SLACKER COUNCIL MEMBERS LACK PRESENCE
By SALLY GOLDENBERG and DAVID SEIFMAN, NY Post
Two City Council members in office since 2002 have missed 34 percent of their hearings and meetings, according to figures released yesterday.
Maria Baez (D-Bronx) and James Sanders (D-Queens) topped the list of the 51 council members with the worst attendance records - each scoring a dismal 66 percent.
Not far behind were Al Vann (D-Brooklyn) at 67 percent, Larry Seabrook (D-Bronx) at 68 percent and Tom White (D-Queens) at 69 percent. Baez was absent for 269 of 873 hearings and meetings between Jan. 1, 2002 and June 16, 2008.
She also was marked "excused" on 26 other occasions.
Remarkably, Baez missed every single one of 24 council sessions between this past May 16 and June 16, the period when the $60 billion city budget was hashed out.
She couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
On the flip side, maverick Tony Avella (D-Queens) got the highest attendance grade: 98 percent.
Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), who achieved a 95 percent attendance score, said the figures don't necessarily reflect the reality because legislators are marked present even if they just drop into a meeting briefly.
"So what if you get marked here?" asked Felder.
"We are elected by the people. At a minimum, we should have the decency to get here on time and stay for most of the hearing."