Today’s Opinion: Playing truantPOSTED: 02/19/11 5:50 PM
You’d think that in a neatly organized country like the Netherlands (neatly organizes as opposed to the more relaxed lifestyle we appreciate so much in the Caribbean) people always show up for work and for meetings, and that politicians lead by example.
Hmmm. Maybe some of them do, but there are exceptions, too. TV-station RTL News examined how faithful members of the First Chamber (Eerste Kamer) are in attending public senate meetings.
They found that two leftwing senators hold the record for lowest attendance. GreenLeft senator Britta Bohler missed 13 of the 35 public meeting the senate held last year, and Socialist Party Senator Anja Meulenbelt failed to show up 11 times. With absentee percentages of respectively 37.1 and 31.4 the two politicians make being a senator look easy.
If we projected the top figure for instance on a run-of-the-mill employee who sweats on average 220 days a year for her or his employer, it would translate into 82 days of absenteeism – about four months of working days.
So to say that these senators are leading by example would be a form of stretching the truth.
There are however also senators with what is considered a high level of attendance.
Senators, who hold the seat for the Independent senate faction, attended 77 percent of the meetings. That still represents a 23 percent absenteeism-level (51 working days for us ordinary payroll slaves).
The thing is, of course, that there are no truancy officers to keep politicians in check. They are elected to do a job and they get a reality check only once every four years. How about adding that condition to the next collective labor agreements?