The Pryor Times

November 6, 2013

LG trustee ousted by board

Staff Writer
Susan Wagoner

PRYOR, OK — The Locust Grove Board of Trustees informed Trustee Martha Pierce that according to a state statute, she was no longer on the board, Pierce said.

“(Mayor) Heath Holman showed up at my house on Saturday with this paper stating I was being removed from the board for excessive absences,” Pierce said.

Oklahoma Statute 11.O.S. 8-108 states “Whenever a member of the municipal governing body is absent from more than one-half of all meetings of the governing body, regular and special, held within any period of four (4) consecutive months, he shall thereupon cease to hold office.”

According to town records, Pierce missed four of six meetings in July, August, September and October. With Pierce immediately removed by state law from her post, the board will announce the vacancy at the next meeting.

Pierce acknowledged past absences.

“There were two meetings in July that I missed because I was in Hawaii,” Pierce said. “My mother was gravely ill in September.”

However, she contested a special meeting held Sept. 24 at noon, indicating she the meeting was scheduled intentionally to prevent her attendance.

“They know I can’t attend if it’s at noon,” Pierce said. “I work. I can’t be there at that time. That was the one that put me over the mark on attendance.”

According to reports, the meeting was called to sign the contract for the wastewater treatment project. The timing was essential and under a deadline making a delay to the next council meeting unwise.

Records show in addition to the monthly meetings during the four months in question, there were additional special meetings in July and September.

The board withheld comment until Town Attorney Tammy Ward could be consulted. As it stands, Pierce is automatically removed according to state statute with no action required by the board, who will address the vacancy at next Monday’s council meeting.

Pierce plans to attend.

“Well yeah, I’ll be there,” she said. “I might be there with my lawyer.”