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Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Commission attendance record of Mix scrutinized

Chairman defends incumbent candidate

Express Staff Writer

When Blaine County Commissioner Mary Ann Mix came under attack last week for her relatively poor meeting attendance, Commission Chairman Dennis Wright was quick to come to her defense.

"To my knowledge, Mary Ann has not missed anything of a critical nature," Wright said. "Itís not, ĎHow many meetings did you attend?í Itís, ĎWere you there for the important decisions that truly have a long-range effect on the people of this county and the well being of county government?í"

Last week, commission candidate Tom Bowman released numbers indicating that Mix, in part or whole, missed 26 percent of the boardís meetings in 2002 and 2003. According to Blaine County Clerk Marsha Reimann, who unlike Bowman did not include in her tally the number of meetings Mix departed early or arrived late, Mix missed 19 percent of the meetings in 2004 and 11 percent in 2003.

Her four-year average equaled an 88 percent attendance record. In 2002, she missed 20 percent of the meetings. It is clear that, overall, she has missed more meetings than her peers, Wright and Sarah Michael.

"Itís factual. Itís not related to rumor," Bowman said in explaining his decision to bring attention to the issue.

Former County Commissioner Tom Blanchard also took note of Mixís attendance record. "Would you continue to employ a person who was absent 25 percent of the time?" he asked in a letter to the editor this week.

Mix, however, brushed off the allegation.

"That dog wonít hunt," she said. "I donít think that dogís going to hunt because I donít think you can question my work ethic. I truly do believe that it would be difficult for anyone to have a greater work ethic than I do. I do work greater than 80 hours per week for the county."

Mix said she was offended by criticisms about her attendance record, in part, because she went through some difficult family-related struggles during the last four years.

"Iím offended at the incredible lack of compassion," she said. "Theyíre obviously questioning my work ethic. It defies logic that he thinks he could out-work me, that he has a greater work ethic than I do."

Though she did not defend Mix as vehemently as Wright did, Michael, who is publicly supporting Bowman, said all three commissioners work hard.

"I personally feel like we all try to be there as much as possible," she said.


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