Lemoore councilmember misses first meeting since her arrest, continued absences may vacate her seat

LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Lemoore city council members took their seats, but one remained empty.

As expected, there was silence as Councilmember Holly Blair's name was called in the council meeting weeks after her arrest earlier this month.

Blair's attorney, Maggie Melo, says her client skipped the meeting to deal with stress as she awaits her arraignment.

Blair was arrested after an incident at the Lemoore Police Department led a police chase.

Her car was later surrounded by police, and officers say she failed to obey commands before she was arrested.

Blair's attorney says her client needs to be evaluated, "We know from police reports, it had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. When (police) made contact, she was not responsive. We're thinking it was a medical issue. We're looking into that."

Blair wasn't directly brought up by any of the city officials, but they did discuss a report from the Kings County grand jury that states several issues, including the council's lack of following procedure and the mayor's inability to control members.

Nathan Olson says the council's received training and has dealt with legal issues the best possible way.

"I think it's a portion of our council that made it difficult....you saw how the meeting went tonight. It went cordial. This is how it should go," he said.

Some of those recent issues involve Blair.

In a settlement, the councilmember agreed to refrain from publically making negative comments about city employees.

While her recent arrests do not violate that agreement, her continued absence could impact the future of her councilmember seat.

Missing 60 calendar days could vacate the seat, but the city of Lemoore has a more lenient alternative.

"Our code of conduct, or our council, says its five meetings missed before we take action," Olson said.

City officials are deciding which avenue to take.

In the meantime, Olson says they didn't end up filing a temporary restraining order because they say limiting a councilmember's activity in the city would not have been successful.
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