San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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December 17th, 2009
Sumter avoids expulsion from regional board

by BRAD ROLLINS

Hays County Judge Elizabeth Sumter’s on-again, off-again relationship with a regional planning group appears to be on again after a nominating committee of her peers reconsidered a decision to eject her from the Capital Area Council of Governments executive committee.

CAPCOG’s nominating committee initially recommended that Sumter and Lockhart Mayor James Bertram not be re-nominated for their board positions after both missed more than five of the committee’s monthly meetings this year, said Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long, who sits on the nominating committee. Sumter responded by resigning from the CAPCOG board, Long said. Bertram, however, protested his exclusion and the committee reconsidered its decision for both Betram and Sumter, whereupon Sumter withdrew her resignation, Long said.

“Our initial recommendation was that if an individual missed three meetings in a row or five meetings total in a year, they would not be recommended to be reappointed. That was the case for the mayor of Lockhart as well as Judge Sumter,” Long said. “We subsequently had another meeting where some extenuating circumstances about those absences were presented [by Bertram] and there was a willingness from the committee to reconsider.”

The CAPCOG general assembly was scheduled to consider re-nominations to the executive committee at its annual meeting Dec. 9 and Sumter is listed as being re-nominated. Sumter said on Tuesday that she had expressed her intent to resign but “decided to go ahead and stay.”

Long said her recollection from the nominating committee discussions is that Sumter missed five meetings this year and three of those were in a row. Although not all of them are posted on the CAPCOG website, meeting minutes show that Sumter was absent for the group’s March, April, June and August meetings this year; Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley, who serves as the committee’s second vice president, missed two of those.

CAPCOG seeks to make local government more efficient by planning and coordination especially in areas that include, according to its website, emergency services, elderly assistance, law enforcement training, criminal justice planning, solid waste reduction, infrastructure development, and housing and economic development. Hays is one of 10 counties represented in the group.

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