Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

CITY HALL – Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver, who is running for Los Angeles County Supervisor, is taking some heat for his attendance record on the City Council but he’s not the only one who’s missed some meetings.

Of the 14 candidates for Santa Monica’s City Council, eight have previously served on a local board or committee.

Some of those candidates are currently serving and some served more than a decade ago. The Daily Press took a closer look at the attendance records of all eight candidates in their most recent two years in office. We also tallied partial absences, which we considered the act of missing more than 30 minutes of a meeting.

Leading the race for most absences is Mayor Pam O’Connor who has missed 10 meetings in the past two years she has served on the council. This amounts to more than 20 percent of meetings missed during the time period.

O’Connor pointed to her career as a historic preservation planner as well her responsibility to travel on official city business.

“A few of those meetings were when I was required to be at the other cities’ meetings to fulfill the duties of my full-time job.” O’Connor said in an e-mail. “Then a few meetings were representing the City or Metro in (Washington D.C.) or Sacramento or elsewhere.”

O’Connor also said she missed two series of budget study sessions, which totaled to six meetings, because she was out of the country. The budget study sessions have a low likelihood of an important vote or action item, she said.

Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy had a perfect attendance record with no absences in the past two years – a span of 55 meetings.

Kennedy said being at the meetings was absolutely necessary for effectively representing the community.

“All of the important issues in our city are all interconnected so it’s really important to be there to listen to the public to help provide input to the council,” she said.

“I think my attendance record goes hand-in-hand with my proven track record of protecting residents and our neighborhoods over the many years of my service to the community.”

She added that attendance at meetings is vital, especially during conversations about important policy and regulation like the update of the city zoning code.

Richard McKinnon, a planning commissioner who is running for a seat on council, logged a total of nine absences – the most absences of any of the Planning Commissioners currently running.

McKinnon said the problem with many of the Planning Commission meetings is that they are regularly rescheduled or canceled at the last minute, often without much notice.

“The end result is we have an unpredictable and erratic schedule that makes it virtually impossible to plan in advance,” he said. “I shift heaven and earth to make it to the meetings, but sometimes it’s just impossible.”

Recreation & Parks Commission Chair Phil Brock’s attendance record was on the opposite end of the spectrum, with no meetings missed in the past two years of service.

The Recreation and Parks Commission, however, meets with far less regularity than council or the Planning Commission. Brock’s perfect attendance spans 17 monthly meetings.

Still, Brock had some choice words for those city representatives who he feels don’t make the effort to show up regularly for meetings.

“I have some commissioners who miss four or five meetings a year and I’m personally pissed off at that,” Brock said. “If you have work or family commitments that take you away from your duty, then why the hell are you taking the position?”

He added that regardless of a seat being a volunteer or paid position, it is the responsibility of the city official to take their job seriously.

“I believe being a commissioner is a sacred duty and I’ve never missed a meeting unless it was absolutely necessary,” Brock said. “I’ve been honored to be a commissioner and I take that responsibility diligently.”

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This attendance data was compiled through committee and council meeting minutes and video of the last two years that each candidate served on their respective boards.

City Council

Mayor Pam O’Connor (2013-14):

48 total meetings

10 absences

2 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

25% absent or partial absences during time period

Kevin McKeown (2013-14):

48 total meetings

2 absences

0 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

4.167% absent or partial absences during time period

Michael Feinstein (2003-04):

51 total meetings

4 absences

1 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

9.8% absent or partial absences during time period

Planning Commission

Richard McKinnon (2013-14)

55 total meetings

9 absences

1 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

18.18% absent or partial absences during time period

Jennifer Kennedy (2013-14)

55 total meetings

0 absences

0 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

0% absent or partial absences during time period

Sue Himmelrich (2013-14)

55 total meetings

2 absences

1 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

5.45% absent or partial absences during time period

Frank Gruber (1998-99)

32 meetings with attendance data

5 absences

0 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

15.62% absent or partial absences during time period

Parks and Recreation

Phil Brock (2013-14)

17 meetings with attendance data

0 absences

0 partial absences (more than 30 min. missed)

0% absent or partial absences during time period

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