Elkhorn incumbent accused of missing too many meetings

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Darryl Enriquez
Monday, March 21, 2011

— Former politician Gary L. Payson accuses incumbent Alderman Gerald A. Norton of spending too much time traveling out of state and subsequently missing too many city council meetings.

The accusation prompted the Gazette to ask City Clerk Darlene Igl to check on the number of council meetings Norton had missed during his two years in office.

“Since Gerry Norton was sworn in on April 21, there have been 48 common council meetings (regular and special). He has been absent for 11 of those meeting,” Igl wrote in an email.

The figures reveal that Norton had missed almost 23 percent of the council meetings.

“I am outraged by the audacity my opponent has shown by his absence from the state/city for months on end, while still collecting a taxpayer-funded salary as an elected official,” Payson wrote in a campaign statement.

Norton defeated Payson two years ago, and Payson wants his job back. The election is April 5.

Norton did not seem fazed by Payson’s accusations.

“I have email and got my home phone forwarded to my cell so I stay in contact with the city all of the time,” Norton said.

The men are running for a two-year term in District 2. The salary for this year is $3,840 with an expense account of $105 per month. The district covers the southeast and southcentral areas of the city.

“Attendance is required, not optional,” Payson wrote. “We cannot and shall not tolerate this at the local level.”

Norton, who is retired, responded that his extended out-of-state travels have not affected his ability to serve Elkhorn. Interviews for this story were conducted as Norton was traveling through Georgia. He had just attended an recreational vehicle convention in Florida.

“I ran my first campaign from Arizona,” he said. “This campaign has been run from Florida.”

Last updated: 10:52 am Friday, December 21, 2012

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