PORTERDALE -- Some of the 20 or so residents who attended the Porterdale City Council meeting Monday night suggested that the absence of at least one council member was calculated to avoid one item on the agenda.
A lengthy meeting agenda was postponed until next Monday after the City Council failed to seat a quorum at the regular meeting Monday. Three seats were vacant -- the Post 3 seat formerly held by Arline Chapman, who resigned to run for mayor; the Post 1 seat held by Robert Foxworth; and the Post 4 seat held by Mike Harper. Under the city's charter, four of six council members must be present for a quorum.
Resident Nancy Naya implied that Foxworth deliberately missed the meeting in order to avoid the scheduled discussion of a contract with Porterdale Police Sgt. Jason Cripps for operation of a K-9 program for the Police Department.
"I really see it as a sabotage thing," said Naya, who has had conflicts with Foxworth in the past. "You'll never convince me that it's anything other than that."
Mayor Bobby Hamby said that Foxworth was unable to attend the meeting because he injured his back. Hamby said he had not heard from Harper.
Harper said Tuesday that he didn't attend the meeting because he knew that the council would be unable to conduct business.
"I wasn't there because (City Manager) Bob Thomson called me and told me that Robert was hurt and we weren't going to have a meeting because we didn't have a quorum," Harper said. "If we don't have a quorum we can't conduct business."
Foxworth said Tuesday by phone that he injured his back, had been to the doctor on Monday and was prescribed muscle relaxers and a pain killer. He said under those circumstances he wasn't sure how effective he would have been at the meeting.
"If I had been there last night I would have sat there and been in so much pain," Foxworth said.
He also said he had planned to discuss the contract if he had been able to attend the meeting.
"I've got some concerns about this, and I was going to read my concerns last night," Foxworth said. "But I called the mayor and told him I couldn't make it."
Resident Chris Adams said he had asked Foxworth about the K-9 contract at the recent candidates forum and was told that that was not the place to discuss the issue. Now, Adams said, Foxworth has missed two meetings since the forum.
Foxworth was out of town last week and missed the council's Oct. 27 work session.
"I'm just wondering -- is Mr. Foxworth going to come?" Adams asked.