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Township Council Withdraws Prasad Excused Absence Resolution, But Did It Matter?

Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad, seen in this file photo, must show up to the Nov. 27 council meeting or risk his seat being declared vacant.


Angry residents forced the Township Council to remove from its Nov. 8 agenda a resolution that would have excused Councilman Rajiv Prasad’s four-week absence from his official duties.

The excused absence would have taken away the threat of the council declaring Prasad’s seat vacant in December.

But as it turns out, the council’s action might have been an empty gesture, because Prasad can remove the threat of his seat being declared vacated simply by showing up at the Nov. 27 council meeting.

If Prasad had remained away from his official duties for eight consecutive weeks from Oct. 9 – until Dec. 4 – without the council formally excusing his absences, the governing body could vote to declare his seat vacated and appoint a replacement.

The Nov. 8 resolution stated that Prasad “has informed the Township Council that he has various family and work matters that would cause him unable (sic) to attend Council and other Committee Meetings” and that “family and work matters are excusable absences.”

Prasad announced on Oct. 9 that he would “spend a few weeks away” from council business because of “distractions” caused by “recent events in the news,” referring to the controversy caused by his handling of a proposed “Peace and Nonviolence” monument park.

The “distractions” Prasad cited were not mentioned in the resolution, a fact that did not go unnoticed by residents lambasting the council for the proposed action.

“Each and every one of you sitting up there is well aware that he doesn’t have family and work excuses for not making these meetings, he admitted that it was his actions that caused him to have these problems, and you’re going to excuse him?” resident Rob Trautmann asked. “And vote and allow him to be absent while he’s drawing a salary from us? That’s pathetic.”

Christina Zambri wanted to know “how he’s getting excused for something he caused himself? This is him running away from the public, this is him hiding.”

“By you even considering a resolution, you’re going against what we’ve discussed in the past about transparency in government and trust in the township council,” she said. “What I see here is an entire council full of Democrats who are standing up for their own.”

“You all know inside of you that (the resolution is) a lie,” said Brian Ulrich. “If any one of these resolutions you knew wasn’t correct, would you still vote on it? If you vote and agree with this, you know it’s a lie, you know it’s not correct. He brought this all on himself.”


In Our Opinion: Township Council Must Vote ‘No’ On Prasad ‘Excused Absences’ Resolution


Caren White told the council that they were “betraying the trust of the people who put you up there, you are protecting one of your own … someone who is under investigation.”

“Why are you doing this? Why don’t you do the honorable thing, the thing that your constituents are asking you to do, and that is asking him to resign,” she said.

Skip Schaeffer told the council that Prasad’s opponents were not going to go away while he’s on the council.

“This community is not going to forget, we are going to continue to show up to council meeting after council meeting to step on Mr. Prasad’s throat, and the council’s throat,” he said. “We’re going to continue to show up here and we’re going to continue to remind the council of the shame and embarrassment that Mr. Prasad has brought on you.”

“You’re all wearing cloaks of shame and embarrassment,” he said. “His usefulness to this council and this town is over, it’s gone. There won’t be any healing, there won’t be any forgiveness from this community until Mr. Prasad is gone. I’m calling on him to resign or suffer the indignity of being recalled.”

The only council member who addressed the crowd was Deputy Mayor Shanel Robinson, who said she did not agree with the resolution being placed on the agenda on Nov. 8. Robinson said she thought it was going to be on the agenda days ago.

“I understand why the trust of the people for government is not there,” she said.

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate live-streamed the relevant parts of the meeting:

Posted by The Franklin Reporter & Advocate on Thursday, November 8, 2018

 

Posted by The Franklin Reporter & Advocate on Thursday, November 8, 2018

 

Posted by The Franklin Reporter & Advocate on Thursday, November 8, 2018

 

Posted by The Franklin Reporter & Advocate on Thursday, November 8, 2018

 

 

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