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UCHRA Meeting Attendance Issues Hard To Address

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCHRA Meeting Attendance Issues Hard To Address

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency prepares to meet Wednesday, but how many local mayors will attend.

In a December state audit on UCHRA, excessive absentees were noted among the Policy Council and Executive Committee members. While the Comptroller’s Office suggested an attendance policy, Executive Director Mark Farley said that is hard for the agency to do.

“Keep in mind, our board members are statutorily appointed to these boards,” Farley said. “They’re there because they’re elected mayors, either at the county level or the city level. It’s not something that they choose to be a part of, and it’s not really anything we can do to control their attendance.”

Farley said the agency works closely with local mayors to schedule and create a fulfilling agenda, but there is no legal backing to force attendance. Farley said having virtual options available has helped though.

“They have very important jobs in each one of their communities,” Farley said. “Sometimes, there are things that come up that they need to take care of and can’t be away from their own community to come and do the work of the human resource agency. We certainly understand that, but we do strive to make sure that they understand the need for them to be here.”

State legislation could be the answer to participation. Farley said expanding virtual meetings beyond COVID is being explored by law makers. Farley said the size and structure of human resource agency boards are also being reevaluated, but nothing is official, yet.

“There is some work that’s going on behind the scenes between the Comptroller’s General Office and our Tennessee General Assembly along with all the HRAs,” Farley said.

In fiscal year 2019, 28 of the 51 policy council members attended less than half the meetings. 18 of 42 executive committee members attended less than 50 percent of the meetings.

Both boards include city and county mayors as well as other representatives. At least three meetings over the past two years have been held without a quorum.


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