Dallas councilman Philip Kingston asked to pay back part of salary due to absences

The City of Dallas is asking one of its most outspoken council members to give back thousands of dollars from his salary.

The city's chief financial officer says councilman Philip Kingston needs to pay back the money because he missed too many city council meetings.

A memo sent to him on June 27 said he owes the $8,160, citing 11 unexcused absences out of 81 meetings. That's three more absences than the city charter allows.

Kingston has disputed the city secretary's attendance records and the city's CFO says she will re-examine the absences at his request.

"I think it's not unreasonable to expect those elected to the city council to serve and attend every meeting they are required to attend,” said former councilman John Loza.

Loza proposed the charter language back in 2001, when the city was considering switching from paying council members a paltry $50 per meeting to an annual salary of $37,000. The city council salary is now $60,000 a year.

"I think this provision makes sure councilmembers have an incentive to be at city hall, when they're supposed to be there,” Loza said.

Loza was later was penalized under his own proposal for missing too many committee meetings.

"As a trial attorney, Monday's are frequently the day cases are called to trial," Loza said of his absences.

In the 16 years the policy has been in effect, the city has asked only four other council members to pay the city back for missed meetings.

Kingston said he could not talk FOX4, citing poor cell phone service while on a trip in Hell Canyon, South Dakota.