GLOUCESTER - A Gloucester city councilor is defending himself over accusations that he isn't spending enough time in the city he represents.
Councilor Jamie O'Hara has been an at-large councilor in the city for four terms and is running for two more years on the job. But a concerned constituent reached out to WBZ TV, saying O'Hara is rarely in Gloucester, often traveling to Florida and Virginia for weeks at a time.
"Being part of the community is sort of required to represent the community," said Gloucester resident Dave Marro. "Not being here seems like kind of an issue."
O'Hara said he doesn't hide the fact that he's often not in Gloucester, attending most city council meetings virtually. He spoke to WBZ TV's Tiffany Chan virtually while in Virginia.
"My profession as a city councilor is a part-time position," said O'Hara. "It actually pays $10,000 a year. My profession is I am in construction."
Ward 2 City Councilor Tracy O'Neil came to his defense, collecting signatures for his re-election while he's gone.
"Jamie helps more people from Florida than all the other councilors combined, almost," said O'Neil. "He's the guy people call."
"It seems like being a city councilor is more than just attending meetings," said Marro. "If they're not physically here, then part of their job they can't do."
Voters will decide on whether to re-elect O'Hara on November 7.
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