By Phil Corso
Fourteen lawmakers represent the borough of Queens in the City Council, but only one posted a perfect attendance record over the last two years, according to statistics.
In response to a TimesLedger Newspapers Freedom of Information Law request, the Council released attendance records for its members from January 2011 to the present. Of the 14 Queens Council members, Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) was the only one without a single absence in both 2011 and 2012 to date.
Of the entire Council, Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) was the only other lawmaker to record a perfect attendance record. Quinn, however, is only required to attend full Council sessions and select meetings.
But Weprin was not alone in having a stellar attendance record for his various committee meetings and votes with the Council. For both 2011 and 2012 to date, Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) posted an attendance record at or above 96 percent as well as Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who showed up at about 95 percent of his meetings, the Council said.
At the bottom of the attendance lists for both years, Councilmen James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) and James Sanders (D-Laurelton) racked up the most absences. In 2011, Sanders posted an attendance record of about 73 percent, with Gennaro slightly above that with about 76 percent, records showed. In 2012 to date, Sanders has upped his attendance to above 83 percent and Gennaro currently sits at about 80 percent.
Over the last year or so, Gennaro has been a primary caregiver for an immediate family member, who has suffered from a severe illness, a spokesman said. As for Sanders, a heated primary battle and victory against state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) has played a part in some of his absences from Council meetings, his office said.
The only other Council members from Queens who posted an attendance record below 80 percent was Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who missed roughly 21 percent of his meetings in 2011, according to Council records.
But Ulrich also had the greatest annual improvement as of October 2012, statistics showed, with the lawmaker compiling an attendance record of about 85 percent.
Councilman Larry Seabrook (D-Bronx) posted the worst attendance record, statistics showed, missing more than 28 percent of his meetings. Seabrook, who was convicted in July of funneling $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to friends and family, showed many of the absences during the time he was facing the corruption charges.
He has since been removed from office.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.