Editorial: County Commissioner Mary Pat Flynn's Excessive Absenteeism

Does public deserve better than 51% attendance?

Barnstable County Commissioner Mary Pat Flynn attended only 51% of the meetings she was obligated to attend for the county in 2017. 

Recent stories on this site have explored her attendance at meetings of the County Commissioners as well as other county boards on which she serves as the Commissioners' representative.

While her attendance at County Commissioners' meetings improved markedly during the second half of 2017, her attendance at other meetings did not.

Attendance of County Commissioner Mary Pat Flynn    
2017 Meetings of… Present Absent Total % Present
Retirement Board 4 8 12 0.33
Cape EDC 0 8 8 0.00
Cape Water Protection 0 4 4 0.00
Cape Cod Commission 1 9 10 0.10
Cty Commission Jan to July 2 17 11 28 0.61
Cty Commission Jul 5 to Dec 31 23 3 26 0.88
Totals 45 43 88 0.51

Commissioner Flynn was present at a combined total of 51% of the meetings she was obligated to attend in 2017.  She is also a member of the advisory board for Children's Cove, which has not responded to our public records request for her attendance record with that group. 

When Ms. Flynn misses a meeting of one of the boards where she represents the Commissioners, one of the other commissioners must fill in for her, such as at Cape Cod Commission meetings, or they go unrepresented.  County Commissioners earn an annual stipend of $14,150 plus benefits.

The County Commissioners are currently engaged in budget discussions.  If you're interested, watch the video below of the January 31st meeting of the board to get a flavor of their work.  Many people who have viewed the video expressed concern that Ms. Flynn did not seem engaged or particularly well informed about the business in front of the Commissioners.  At one point she is seen having difficulty silencing her phone while others are trying to conduct business.

It may be that advancing age or health issues are slowing Flynn down.  Regardless of the cause, her absenteeism puts a burden on her fellow commissioners and has apparently affected her familiarity with the business of the county.

Mary Pat Flynn has a long history of service to the County, her town and the community at large.  She is currently one year into a four year term as County Commissioner and was 82 years old when re-elected in 2016.  With all of the changes afoot in Barnstable County Government, the public deserves three County Commissioners that are fully engaged and present at all of the meetings they're obligated to attend. 

If Commissioner Flynn is no longer capable of meeting all the obligations of her office, then perhaps Mary Pat has stayed too long at the party.

How do you feel?  Should Commissioner Flynn announce her retirement so the voters can elect a successor this fall?  Please vote in our poll.


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