The Emerald Isle is calling. Ten San Jose officials will fly this week to Dublin, Ireland, for the bi-annual “Sister City” trip, which is basically a pub crawl disguised as a city-sponsored economic development junket. Among the lucky 10 are four councilmembers (Xavier Campos, Rose Herrera, Ash Kalra and Johnny Khamis); three department heads (budget director Jennifer Maguire; Joe Hedges, of economic development; and environmental services’ Kerrie Romanow); two council chiefs of staff (Shane Patrick Connolly, for Khamis; and Mary Anne Groen, for Herrera); and one soon-to-retire city manager, Debra Figone. If that seems like overkill, well, it is. Some readers might remember that just a little more than a year ago the city was coming off a solid decade of budget shortfalls. But also consider that San Jose will have additional representation with an accompanying sister-sister city group from the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. After factoring in plane flights, food and lodging, conservative estimates suggest $20,000 leak out of the city’s coffers—and that’s after Fly found out that some of the city’s emissaries are actually planning to pay out of pocket or reimburse the city. Groen says she will pay her way from the start, while Kalra promised to reimburse the city as soon as he returns home. “Bottom line, I’m reimbursing my office,” he said. “I’m going to pay for everything.” We’ll check back on that in November. Figone has already stated she’ll pay for her food and lodging, as her husband is joining her, but there seems to be little gained by sending the city manager on a trip when her tour of service expires in just two months. “It’s a reasonable question you ask—what’s the return on investment on this?” said communications director David Vossbrink. “She realizes with anything, there’s some second guessing.” Perhaps more perplexing is why Khamis, a first-year councilmember, needs to use his district funds, which come from the general fund, to take his staffer along for the ride. “I’m actually going to help introduce him to many of my contacts in Dublin,” Connolly told Fly. “I’ve gone over a few times on my own dime, as a member of the Sister City Committee.” So, basically, Khamis needs somebody to vouch for him. Good luck with that. But of all the reasons Fly heard for why the trip is money well spent, the least convincing had to be the Brooklyn Bridge defense: Dublin sends its contingent every year, while San Jose only goes every other.