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Avella tops colleagues in attendance: Report

By Stephen Stirling

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) has perfect marks when it comes to attending City Hall meetings, while colleagues James Sanders (D−Laurelton) and Tom White (D−South Ozone Park) were among the worst in the city, according to a report compiled by the Gotham Gazette.

Avella has attended 100 percent of the full Council and committee meetings at City Hall since his second term began in 2006. Avella and Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D−Manhattan) are the only two people in the 51−member body to make it to every meeting they have been required to attend.

Avella’s perfect attendance also gave him more opportunities to vote against actions brought before the governing body, the report said. The 19th District councilman led the borough in “no” votes in the Council as well, voting against a total of 120 items since 2006.

Avella trailed Councilman Charles Barron (D−Brooklyn), who voted “no” 180 times during the last four years.

The 11 Queens Council members who have served their full terms to date since being elected or re−elected in 2005 did fairly well in the report, with all but two coming in with a more than 80 percent attendance rate.

After Avella, Queens’ top attendees are Councilwoman Helen Sears (D−Jackson Heights), who showed up for 98 percent of the meetings she was meant to attend, and Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria), who attended 96.4 percent.

Sanders and White were absent the most over the last four years. Since 2006, Sanders has attended just 72 percent of the Council’s stated meetings held in the City Council chambers at City Hall, while White has shown up for just a few more at 72.7 percent.

Neither White nor Sanders could immediately be reached for comment, but both have among the longest commutes to City Hall in the city. Sanders’ district office is 19.7 miles from City Hall, while White has to travel 17 miles from his.

Distance has not stopped Avella, however, who has to travel 16.9 miles to attend a City Hall meeting.

Newly minted Council members Eric Ulrich (R−Howard Beach), Julissa Ferreras (D−East Elmhurst) and Elizabeth Crowley (D−Middle Village) were not included in the study because they were only elected last month.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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