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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beverly Earle, Malcolm Graham, Nick Mackey: Charlotte's Worst Black "Leaders"?

3 Black Charlotte Politicians Take Worst Attendance Honors

Two Charlotte area legislators gained the unfortunate distinction of worst attendance record during last year's legislative session.

And the whole issue of absences has deteriorated into a dispute between Rep. Nick Mackey and Rep. Beverly Earle, both Charlotte Democrats.

Sen. Malcolm Graham, a Charlotte Democrat, and Rep. Jeff Barnhart, a Concord Republican, accumulated the worst attendance records in their respective chambers, with the exception of fellow lawmakers who were ill or had surgery during session.

The records were tallied by the non-partisan N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Graham attended 91 of 112 legislative days for an 81 percent attendance rate. The only lower record was that of Sen. Richard Stevens, a Cary Republican, who was sidelined with a broken kneecap.

"Not only am I a state senator, but I work for a living as well," Malcolm Graham said, adding that the supposed part-time job is full time. "I try to balance the responsibilities of serving as well as making a living at the same time."

Legislators receive less than $14,000 a year in salary, plus $559 per month for expenses.

Barnhart made it to 95 of 114 days, or 83 percent. Earle, who underwent two back surgeries last year, and Rep. Becky Carney, who was out for two months after suffering cardiac arrest, had lower attendance figures.

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Sources: NCGA, McClatchy Newspapers, N.C. Center for Public Policy Research, Google Maps

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