Jeff Smith has missed 8 of 12 regular council meetings
Jacksonville's City Councilman Jeff Smith has been noticeably absent from several meetings recently, and the Jacksonville Progress is asking “Where is Councilman Smith?”
Although the Progress has asked Smith repeatedly for the past two weeks for a comment regarding his absence, a response has yet to be received.
Jacksonville City Manager Greg Smith – who works closely with the council in leading the city – was equally reluctant to talk about the councilman's absences: “As for Mr. Smith, the city has no statement.”
However, according to Jacksonville City Secretary Greg Lowe, Smith has missed eight of the past 12 regular city council meetings.
According to city meeting records, Councilman Smith has missed numerous meetings, including those for the months of October, November, January, February, March, April, June and July.
In January, the council approved a resolution granting Smith permission to be excused from the February and March council meetings.
Smith was in attendance for the first time since December at the May council meeting.
He has since then missed the June and July regular council meetings.
The city's website features a photo of the council, which does not include Smith. The site also notes that Smith has served as District 2 councilman since 2002 and multiple terms as Mayor Pro Tem.
According to Article II, Section 2 of the city's charter, a council member may miss no more than three meetings without permission before forfeiture of his or her seat:
“ … or who absents himself from three (3) consecutive regular council meetings without the prior consent of said council in resolution form recorded in the minutes, shall immediately forfeit the place to which he was elected, which forfeiture shall be automatic and effective upon the certification by the city secretary to the effect that the minutes of the last three (3) regular meetings reflect that said councilman was absent and that no prior written consent in the manner required was obtained and recorded in the minutes.”
The charter also notes in Article II, Section 3, under the topic of vacancies, “Where a vacancy in any place on the council shall occur, the vacant place my [may] be appointed by a majority of the remaining members. The appointee shall serve until the next general municipal election. However, in lieu of filling the vacancy by appointment, the city council may order a special election to fill the vacancy in accordance with state law. “
The charter can be found on the city's website at www.jacksonvilletx.org.
District 2 includes residents of Lake Jacksonville as well as many on the west side of the city.
As of press time Wednesday, no response had been received by Smith.