The Century town council could not vote on anything Tuesday night without a quorum, and the council president called for two no-show members to either start attending meetings or resign.
Council president Luis Gomez, Jr. and Dynette Lewis were the only two members to attend the first meeting of the new year in-person. Sandra McMurray-Jackson attended by Zoom. Council member James Smith joined Zoom during the meeting, but advised the town clerk by text that he was unable to speak and texted his limited input. Council member Leonard White did not attend at all due to a conflict with his job.
Without a quorum of three members present at the table, the council could only hold discussions but not legally take any votes. The council was scheduled to elect a president and vice president for the year, take action on a $35,000 grant to benefit the town, schedule meetings for the remainder of the year, and approve a proposal to make repairs to a water well that has been out of service for about two years. All very important items for Century, Gomez said.
Jackson has missed in-person meetings for several weeks due to a family emergency, but she has joined the meetings by Zoom. Gomez told NorthEscambia.com that her in-person absences have been absolutely understandable and unavoidable.
Due to his job, Smith often joins council meetings late on Zoom and arrives in-person late in a meeting when most business has been addressed. Council member Leonard White has missed many, many meetings. He has said that is due to his job as a corrections officer at the local prison and the inability to get time off to attend.
Tuesday night, Gomez took aim at Smith and White, calling for them to attend meetings or resign.
“You should give that position your best. And if you do anything less than your best is not just for your benefit, it’s for the benefit of the people that elected you,” Gomez said. “If you feel that your job is more important, maybe you should just do your job and be a good sport. Step down and allow someone who’s going to do the town the justice it deserves.”
The seats held by Smith, White and Jackson will be on the 2022 ballot. Council members are considered part time and are paid about $3,700 per year and are eligible for some town benefits, including health insurance.
Pictured: Luis Gomez, Jr. and Dynette Lewis were the only two members to attend a Century town council meeting in-person Tuesday night. Three other council seats were empty. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.