The Antioch City Council will discuss on Tuesday a new policy regarding an extended absence by an elected official. The policy appears to be aimed at the City Clerk who has been absent since October 28, 2013.
The proposed policy states that if an elected official is absent for more than one month unrelated to his or her own medical policy, then the official is encouraged to return the salary, car allowance, and communication allowance (if received) to the City for the absent period.
Since October 28, City Clerk Arne Simonsen has been absent and failed to attend an Antioch City Council Meeting.
According to the Staff Report, Simonsen declined the opportunity to provide a written response to attach to the staff report, but indicated recently that he is willing to reimbursed the City for his monthly salary of $941.20 and his 10-week absence over the remainder of his 4-year term.
The staff report also indicates he is not willing to reimburse the City for his $350 monthly car allowance; because he uses those funds to attend League of California Cities meetings and trainings throughout the year due to the limited budget for the City Clerks Office. The City Clerk does not receive a communications allowance.
According to State Law, the seat would become vacant after three consecutive months, except when prevented by sickness or when absent from the state with the permission required by law.
The staff report states that Mr. Simonsen is not sick, but was out of the country for an extended period of time over the holidays and attending to matters involving his wife’s family. He did communicate periodically by email during his absence.
Simonsen is expected to be returning to Antioch and be present at the January 14, 2014 City Council Meeting.