Most local council members in the Sharon area are conscientious about fulfilling their elected roles and attending council meetings regularly, according to a special survey conducted by the Hebrew weekly Yediot Hasharon. The newspaper investigated the cities of Kfar Saba, Ra'anana and Hod Hasharon, and concluded that for the most part "the situation is good," although there were some notable exceptions.
According to the survey, 14 council meetings have been held in Kfar Saba since the beginning of the year, and three councilors - mayor Yehuda Ben Hamo, coalition member Amiram Miller and opposition member Guy Ben Gal - have attended every one of them. Five councilors missed between one and five meetings each, and three councilors missed six meetings each. At the top of the absentee list was Simon Goldman, who missed nine out of the 14 meetings.
The report said Goldman, who opened a veterinary clinic in Moscow recently, explained that he had missed so many council meetings because his business ventures forced him to travel overseas frequently. "I thought of quitting the council, but the Shinui party which I represent prevents me from passing my seat to someone else," Goldman said.
Yiftach Algov, the council's only Likud member, missed five meetings and saw nothing wrong with his absences. He said that as a member of the Engineering and the Planning and Construction Committees, he attends only those meetings in which he has an interest. And Avinoam Granot, who missed six meetings, said he was surprised that he had actually succeeded in making it to eight meetings, as his job as head of the Holon municipality's education branch takes up so much of his time.
In Ra'anana, 10 council meetings have been held since the beginning of the year, and three councilors have attended them all: Mayor Nahum Hofree and coalition members Idit Diamant and Eitan Ginzburg. "Even though council members serve voluntarily in addition to their regular full-time employment, I would expect someone elected to public office to make the effort to attend all meetings," Ginzburg said.
Four Ra'anana councilors, among them deputy mayor Tzipi Dolfin, were absent from five council meetings each. Dolfin said she was busy with her work on safety programs and helping new immigrants. The most frequent absentee in Ra'anana was Yoel Azarzar, who missed seven out of the 10 meetings. He said he had "particularly sad reasons" for missing so many meetings, but did not specify what these were.
In Hod Hasharon, eight council meetings have been held in 2007, and five out of the 15 council members - four coalition members and opposition member Almog Borstein - attended all of them. Mayor Hai Adiv, however, missed two meetings. A spokesman said the mayor "sees great importance in council meetings, but does not plan to interfere with the considerations of councilors with regard to attendance at meetings."
Councilor Rafi Ben Mordechai, one of two councillors who missed five meetings, said some of the absences were part of a deliberate campaign by opposition members to protest against Adiv's policies by staying away from council meetings.