South Charleston mayor supports absent councilman
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said Tuesday he still supports a city councilman who has not attended a City Council meeting in months.
Councilman Dayton Griffith, of the city’s Fifth Ward, reportedly hasn’t been to a single City Council meeting this year, and barely attended last year.
But Mullens said Griffith, who is suffering from a serious illness, is still able to represent the people of South Charleston and do his job.
“He responds to his constituents,” Mullens said. “He knows what’s going on, and he’s in touch with my office every week.”
Griffith was first elected to South Charleston City Council in 1968 and served until 1975, according to his profile on the city’s website. He was again elected to City Council in 1995 and has served ever since. He has been City Council president since 1999.
Griffith was most recently re-elected in 2011. A review of City Council minutes shows his attendance was excellent until the middle of 2012, when he missed a few meetings during the summer. He then attended council meetings regularly until November, when he missed another meeting.
But his attendance dropped off to next to nothing in 2013. Meeting minutes show Griffith was absent from meetings in February, March, April, May, June, July, September, October and November, the last month for which minutes are published online.
South Charleston City Council usually meets twice a month and sometimes calls special meetings. Not all meeting minutes are posted online, and South Charleston City Clerk Margie Spence could not be reached Tuesday to track down Griffith’s exact attendance record.
Council meetings also are videotaped, but not all meetings were recorded.
Mullens said Griffith remains involved in town business even if he hasn’t been able to attend council meetings. Mullens does not plan to ask the councilman to step down.
“He is able to do his job, in my opinion, well enough to represent the people who elected him,” the mayor said.
“We have an election coming up in a few months, and he’s not running again,” Mullens said. “Maybe I’m making a decision from the heart, but sometimes in this position you do that.”
Reach Rusty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-1215 or follow @rusty_marks on Twitter.