Newcomers to Loganville's City Council meeting on October 11th might have been thinking "Why in the world is the Mayor taking calls in the middle of a council meeting?"
With those addressing the council and its members speaking loudly, it became evident pretty quickly that this wasn't just ANY phone call. Councilman Rey Martinez, who was deployed with the US Navy Reserves in September was on the other end of the line, participating through teleconferencing, stating his opinion, asking questions, and casting his vote on agenda items.
While it might seem a bit unorthodox, and somewhat cumbersome, the balance of the council was patient with the process, sometimes re-explaining points that were confusing by phone.
Though there was some discussion about adding a provision to Loganville's operating procedures to accommodate this circumstance, it was found that the State of Georgia's Code already has this covered. Under O.C.G.A. § 38-2-279 (2012) Section 2b: "a public office shall not be considered vacated or abandoned by a public officer while on ordered military duty." Teleconferencing is covered under O.C.G.A. § 50-1-5 (2012).
Martinez intends to finish his term and attend council meetings, even while overseas, and to seek another term when he returns next year. His council post is up for reelection in November 2013.
Best of luck to Councilman Martinez as he finishes this tour of duty; and kudos to the City of Loganville for being forward-thinking and cooperative while he continues to represent the citizens - in so many ways.