Councilman Larry Harper has missed more meetings than he's attended this year, according to an administrative office e-mail.
Fellow council members and residents are concerned.
"He's an elected official, and the citizens want to make sure their elected officials are present, representing their interests and voting issues," Councilwoman Dottie Hersey said.
Harper did not respond to several messages seeking comment.
He was elected to the council in 2000 after serving 10 years on the city planning commission. Harper, who owns a consulting and marketing business, is working as a civil construction manager in Tennessee.
"It started out (for) six months, but I'm not sure how long it will be," Harper said last summer. "I'm in limbo as to whether this assignment will be longer. I just don't know.
"Working doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be working at your current location 100 percent of the time," he said. "It's not guaranteed for anybody. You go where the work is."
Before he started the Tennessee contract, Harper had said he had missed two meetings in 10 years. "I've been to all the meetings. All of a sudden, I'm called out (for work)," he said previously.
Harper missing council meetings is a problem, Hersey said.
"I think he should be there," Hersey said. "We should have a full council."
His absence leaves the council with four members, leading to possible quorum problems. A 2-2 vote also means a measure being considered dies.
Harper and Hersey, Mayor George Sheppard, John Dervay and Stephen Perkins make up the council.
According to an e-mail released Dec. 21 by the Tega Cay's administrative office, Harper has attended three meetings since his Tennessee contract began in June: July 10, July 31 and Aug. 21. Those meetings were held on Saturdays.
Harper has missed 16 meetings, according to the e-mail: June 7, June 21, July 6, July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 16, Sept. 7, Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Oct. 23, Nov. 1, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20.
"He's been away too long," Perkins said. "If I was in his shoes and I knew I couldn't attend meetings, then I would probably resign."
Miriam Hair, executive director of the Municipal Association of South Carolina, said there is no state law that requires council members to attend a specific number of meetings.
"As you know Larry Harper has been out there working," Sheppard said. "While there's no [council] member here who faults him for having a job, it has caused problems for us."
The council, Sheppard said, has sought legal advice.
"We confirm that there is nothing we can do," Sheppard said.
Some council members discussed asking the city attorney to send a letter to the attorney general.
A letter seeking the attorney general's opinion could be drafted in "less than an hour," City Attorney Bob McCleave said.
Taking such an action, triggered reservations for Dervay.
"There's a little bit larger issue in my mind," Dervay said. "For any council member to take action against a council member, that's a slippery slope."
Yet, he said, knowledge is key.
"It will be helpful for future councils to know what they can and can't do," Dervay said. "I still will like to see it done."
The motion passed on a 4-0 vote.
Perkins is sympathetic to Harper's situation.
"I do travel for business. So does Dottie [Hersey]." Perkins said. "I try to adjust my schedule to the city's schedule."
All the same, city council members said they are elected to serve.
"The public feedback I've gotten is he's not here representing them," he said of Harper. "They're concerned that he's drawing a paycheck and that he's not doing the job."