A recent media report says Ward 29 councillor Mary Fragedakis missed about 19 per cent of 1,067 recorded city council votes in 2017. The report put the average per cent of recorded votes missed by councillors at about 11 per cent.
However, looking at her attendance at meetings provides a wider picture of her work than just recorded votes missed. Fragedakis is known for attending many events in East York and actively meeting with constituents.
The record shows that the East York councillor missed just one full day of council sessions in 2017, but missed some of the votes where she had other official meetings or constituent commitments .
Further review shows she participated in every East York Community Council meeting in 2017.
Confused? It is common for city council to meet several sessions in a day — morning, noon and night. For example, last year’s March 29 city council met over nine hours during five sessions from the morning into the evening. The record shows Fragedakis attended four of city council’s five sessions that day, missing the shortest session of ten minutes.
In a written reply to questions sent to her office Fragedakis explained city staff sometimes schedule meetings that conflict with some of the many city council sessions.
“City council meetings are a great time to help get constituents’ problems addressed,” she said. “Key city staff are all there and one can pull together a quick meeting quite easily.
“There is a lounge in the council chambers where we hold those meetings. We can hear the proceedings and if the vote is close I will run down and vote.
“However, if someone is calling for a recorded vote where there is no opposition or just one person, I will often choose to keep trying to get the resident’s problem fixed.”
Most city council votes win or lose by wide margins.
“I try to never miss close votes,” Fragedakis said.
She pointed to the challenge of overlapping meetings.
“For example, on the evening of Nov. 7 of this year there was both an annual general meeting of a Business Improvement Area in my ward and the annual community town hall for the community police liaison committee of 54 Division,” Fragedakis said.
“I am a member of both of these,” she said. “As the latter deals with crime and policing, it is so important for me to hear firsthand what residents have to say on these issues.
“So, I had to leave that city council meeting before it was finished for the evening.”
“If there is an issue of specific concern to Ward 29 residents, I make sure I contribute to the debate as well as the vote,” Fragedakis said.