Constant Skipped Council Meeting for RNC

The City Clerk plans to retroactively mark Councilmember Pete Constant down as an unexcused absence for last week’s City Council meeting. Unbeknownst to almost anyone, Constant, who was out of the office almost all of August after back surgery, was attending the Repubican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Constant is a brash, unapologetic Republican on a City Council that is otherwise made up entirely of Democrats. Several of his colleagues on the council were stunned to see a report by the San Francisco Examiner quoting Constant and another Californian touting the state’s “diverse” Republican delegation. (We believe they were mainly stunned that Constant was in Tampa, not that a reporter actually went along with the line that the Republican party is diverse.)

“I had a long discussion with my doctor,” Constant said, “whether it would hurt me or slow down my recovery. He said it wouldn’t do anything detrimental to me; I would just be in increased pain. I spent some time in my hotel sleeping. I didn’t do a lot of the stuff that I wanted to.”

Constant “was there for pretty much the whole convention,” though. While he may have missed some of the RNC parties—and let’s face it, Republicans probably know how to party harder than the more modest-pocketed Democrats—Constant did say he was able to attend all of the key speeches.

“For me, some of the best speeches, quite frankly, were Condoleeza Rice and Paul Ryan, and, of course, Gov. Romney as well,” Constant said. “The residents of California and the nation have to decide if they want to go down the road of bigger government or smaller, more responsive government.”

Constant said he has contacted the City Clerk‘s office to have his paycheck deducted for missing the Aug. 28 council meeting.

City Clerk Dennis Hawkins said Wednesday that his office was contacted by Constant’s people around the same time San Jose Inside left a message with his office Wednesday requesting comment. Hawkins had yet to see what he termed a “retroactive excused absence memo.”

“In this case it will be a change because his absence was previously excused (for his surgry), but now he’s changing that particularl date to an unexcused absence,” Hawkins said. “I haven’t seen the memo yet, but as I understand it he’ll change his excused absence period to sometime before last week and then he’s back for the duration.”

According to Constant, “I had told them I expected to come back sometime in December, but I didn’t know then I’d be back by September.”

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11, which Constant said he plans to attend.

“I’m not sure when I’ll be able to be at a full council meeting all day, but I’m willing to give it a try,” he said.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

43 Comments

  1. Pete hasn’t changed one bit from his days masquerading as a police officer… 4-6 hours on a plane to Tampa and back again plus hauling the luggage and he wonders if his back can handle a full day at the office? 
    Constant’s character is most questionable and it has nothing to do with his party affiliation.

  2. Once a lazy police officer / liar, always a lair never to be trusted.  Enjoy your false disability!

    Sad to say he is worse as a council member than an officer.  He is obviously greasing the pole for higher political goals.  And I bet we had to pay for this trip.

  3. The system we now have in San Jose practically begs many public employees, particularly those in public safety, to retire early on a disability claim- whether legitimate or not. The unions fought tooth and nail to make it this way and to keep it this way.
    So it’s hard to take seriously the concerns of Constant’s critics when it’s obvious that the last thing they’d want is to make it more difficult for guys like Pete to do exactly what he’s doing.

    • Mr. Galt,

      I know your no fan of the unions but could you please explain how the “unions fought tooth and nail to make it this way and keep it this way”  in regards disability retirements?  Thanks, I look forward to you shedding some light on this matter and backing your statement up with some details.

      • I can personally tell you of the back room deals to get get DR just like Consant did.  It is a joke and he sits on the RT board.

        It is sad because a very few deserve it.  My guess is 80% do not!  This after working for the city for 30 years.

        But it is a tax break, not pension reform.

    • You all are privy to the same information that I am- if you’re the slightest bit interested that is. According to the City Auditor’s report from last year 2/3 of retiring fire personnel and over 1/3 of retiring police officers went out on service-related disability retirements. If those figures don’t bother you then your allegiances are more special interest oriented than private citizen/voter/taxpayer oriented. You may try to claim that this proves how grueling and dangerous these jobs are but you’d be kidding yourselves. They ARE relatively hazardous jobs but these figures are a clear indication that many public safety employees have convinced themselves that they somehow deserve to rip off the people of the City of San Jose.
      Of the hundreds of San Jose retirees who’ve taken a disability retirement, Pete Constant is the only one unfairly taking advantage of the system? Hmm.
      Sure, I took some literary license in my “tooth and nail” remark. I doubt the unions had to fight at all. Our City “negotiators” have long been pushovers when it comes to generously promising out other people’s money. Doesn’t mean I have to like it though.

      • John,

        Now that you have backpedaled, please do elaborate on how the system “practically begs public employees, particularly those in public safety” to opt for service related disability retirement. I know you recanted your “tooth and nail” statement, but would you be so kind to provide us an example of the “negotiators” promising out other people’s money?

        Are some of the retirements suspect? More than likely. Have you been a member of public safety? Not very likely. In any system where there is a soft spot, someone will take advantage of it. I’m sure someone like yourself does everything in your (and possibly your accountants) power to pay the least amount of taxes you possibly can. Hell, you’re probably angry that you’re going to have to pay sales tax on Amazon purchases now! To act as though the system is geared toward cheating and that everyone who is a part of that system built it that way, is incorrect.

        BTW the PD is hiring if you think it’s such an easy way to get paid and take advantage of the system. You’ll still have to pay taxes though..

        • I’ll still have to pay taxes though?
          Not necessarily Steve. Much of my income will be tax-exempt for life if, like Pete Constant and a disproportionate number of City of San Jose public safety personnel, I manage to finagle one of those tempting and lucrative disability retirements.
          Tax free!
          Pretty cool huh?

        • Where’s my app? That’s your bottom line huh Steve?- Any behavior on our part is excusable since our job is so tough?
          If your attitude is representative of your department colleagues then that might go a long way toward explaining why a disproportionate number of SJ public safety go before a retirement board claiming a permanent disability.

          Any theories as to why the rate of Fire disability claims is double that of Police? One would think it would be the other way around given the nature of the 2 respective occupations. Police scenarios are more unpredictable and harder to prepare for. Is it possible, just possible, that the number of disability claims are a function of personal choice as much as a function of actual merit?

        • John,

          Do you get tired of running in circles?

          No one said that any of Pete’s behavior is excusable. Please, cite me where I said that. Where has my attitude been indicative of any support for false disability retirements? I gave you a brief explanation as to why the current system is exploited, but nothing even remotely supportive.

          Mr. Galt, you have failed to provide any factual support for your assertions that the system “practically begs public employees particularly those in public safety” to opt for service related disability retirements, nor any examples of the city’s “negotiators” promising out other people’s money. Furthermore, since you believe that these disability retirements are so “cool” and “lucrative” I ask you again, why have you not signed up? We all know why people like you have never, nor will ever sign up. I’ll leave that open for you to provide a candid response..

          I have no doubt that many of the disability retirement claims are about personal choice and not actual merit. Just the same way you finagle the income tax system, these men and women see a soft spot and take advantage of it. Is it okay, not one bit. Is it harmful to the future of public safety members who may some day NEED that safety net, yes. Are you okay with Pete traveling cross country to rub shoulders with your idols?

        • Steve,
          Under the provisions of Measure B (which the unions fought tooth and nail), the structure of retirement boards will be changed to one that will probably be better at assessing the actual merit of disability claims. The unions were reluctant to say goodbye to the old retirement board which approved 94% of the disability claims that were presented to them.
          There’s a rush on claims now (the system practically begging employees to take a disability retirement) before the provisions of Measure B kick in.
          You never explicitly stated that Pete’s behavior is excusable. But your and your unions’ stubborn refusal to even acknowledge that there is a problem (the disproportionately high rate of claims) is tacit support for the status quo and continued abuse by people like Pete Constant.
          I have my own profession and career which I’m pretty committed to and have no interest in becoming a police officer- or for that matter a lawyer, or a doctor, or a banker, or an insurance executive, or a software engineeer. Your rhetorical challenge to me is irrelevant to the problem and to this discussion.

        • John

          Under the provisions of Measure B , Workers who are injured on the job can Be fired. On what planet is that legal??  Its really a mute point , because Measure B will be Beaten down in the courts . People like you crack me up , all talk and no action. im not saying you should apply for public safety ( we both know you dont have what it takes) , but at least try to educate yourself to BOTH sides of the issue . Before you spew your uneducated garbage

      • John its obvious you hate Unions , But are you must be mad if you cant realize that Public safety Takes a toll on ones body . starting to wonder if you’ve ever put in a hard days work.  even on a medical call people can get hurt . have you ever had to pick someone up using bad body mechanics , because there is no other way , ever had to pick up someones dead weight , ever tried to pull a body out of a vehicle , how about fight a 250lb. perp , or wrestle some meth head? Im positive you havent done any of these things , so try to show some appreciation for those that do , day in and day out

    • John Galt you have no idea what you are talking about. Retirement Board meetings are streamed live and archived if you are interested in educating yourself about the process of granting a disability or any other retirment.

      • You’re right MW. I’ve never sat in on a retirement board hearing or watched one online- (it’d be interesting to see Pete Constant’s). But I do know this; It’s not human nature for people to question a person’s sincerity who’s claiming that they’re hurt. There’s a real tendency to always give them the benefit of the doubt. So many of these benefit systems in society depend on peoples’ honesty in order to operate as we hope when we design them. I behooves us all to watch out for signs that they’re not working properly.

  4. Just one other curious observation:

    On August 20th, Constant posted on his public Facebook

    “It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since my back surgery and I’m starting to feel a bit better. It still hurts and I’m slow moving, but I decided that today is the day I’m going to try and get back to my version of normal. I walked the kids to school, got my favorite Starbucks drink, and now I’m off to City Hall to catch up on what’s been happening. I don’t think I’ll last too long, but I’m giving it a try.”

    After posting this for the public, we find out that ONLY 10 DAYS LATER, he flew across the country to attend the 4 day Republican National Convention. I call BS. Something does not add up. You don’t go from being bedridden to attending a 4 day convention and flying across the country in only 10 days recovery time.

  5. From the above, I assume then that Pete, Ash and Xavier all paid their own expenses and are not charging the SJ taxpayers.

    • Is there a way to check to see if they in fact did charge their staff accounts for these jaunts to the conventions? 

      It would be interesting information to have from each of the council members, especially since two if them (Constant & Campos) were not even delegates but simply went for fun.

  6. Where is the outrage that Constant said he was on sick leave yet was at the Republican Convention? Ironically, while he was on sick leave, he was quoted by some national publications, championing the cry for pension reform.

    Here are some interesting half-truths he is putting out for his constituents regarding how the city is dealing with the increase in crime. Where does he come up with the figure that 697 out of 1403 police applicants qualified for the March 2013 police academy?

    http://www.sjdistrict1.com/newsletter/NewsletterArticles/2012-09-September-SJPD.html

    • Pinocchio Luigi Oliverio made the same claims about 697 qualified applicants for the police academy.
      Watch the nose grow, just like Pete’s belly.

      From Pinocchio’s newsletter:

      In addition, I agree with the 2011 Santa Clara Civil Grand Jury that San Jose could utilize three firefighters on a fire engine like every other city in the county. The data in San Jose shows that calls for service are 4 percent fire and 96 percent “other”, mostly medical. The cost savings from realigning resources to match call data should go to police and would enable the hiring of 110 police officers and purchasing 40 police cars. 110 police officers is approximately the entire staffing for the midnight shift. San Jose currently has a waitlist of 104 qualified prospective police officers that have been presented to the hiring board that could fill these positions provided this change was made. There are another 697 qualified applicants for the March 2013 police academy. To view the 2011 Civil Grand Jury report report click here: http://www.scscourt.org/court_divisions/civil/cgj/2011/FDResponse.pdf ”

      Wirh the new hiring standard, all who apply, qualify!

      • TWGR,

        I don’t know where PLO is getting his info, with his “104 qualified prospective police officers” example aside, he and Constant are simply spinning a half truth. While an applicant may meet the minimum qualifications to even submit an application, that just means they are at least 20 and 1/2, have no felonies, no misdemeanors for domestic violence, possess US citizenship, at least 20/40 vision uncorrected, a POST WSTB T-Score of 50 or higher, a POST PELLETB score of 395 (it might even be lower), completion of a 1.5 mile run in 14 minutes or less, and at least 45 semester or 60 quarter units from an accredited school.

        The minimum requirements are just scratching the surface. There are plenty of people who meet those criteria. That field is cut down quickly by the PHQ (personal history questionnaire). Those who have passed then have to go before an oral board of three people, for about 7 questions. These questions are designed to provide information about the applicants life experience, motivation, department knowledge, job suitability, ethics, stress management and more. If they pass that portion, they are given a huge background packet to complete. If they complete the packet and aren’t dismissed for any number of things, they are assigned a Background Investigator. The initial meeting with the B.I. will go over everything the applicant provided plus more and sets the tone for the entire duration of the investigation. The investigation then fully begins and the listed references are checked, as well as people not listed. During this time the applicant submits to a polygraph, and a psychological evaluation exam. Should they still be in the running and they have been receiving positive references thus far, AND they meet the POST job specific dimensions, they continue forward to the final stages of the background. The POST dimensions are something few people meet. This includes a meeting with a certified psychologist regarding the findings of the entire psychological evaluation and more. If the applicant has checked out positive throughout the B.I.‘s investigation and the B.I. is in favor of recommending the applicant for hire as a recruit, they are presented to the hiring board. The hiring board then does their work, and if selected for hire, the applicant must pass an extremely thorough medical screening. If all of this has been successfully completed, they begin their training at the police academy, where 5 to 10% are usually separated due to any number of reasons.

        As you can see, “qualified to apply” is a far cry from qualifying for hire.

        • Why PLO can claim to be naive, Pete Constant, a former police officer, put out the exact same misleading numbers, knowing the actual number that meet hiring standards is around 10% of total applicants. I don’t know the reason he feels the need to spin the truth, but I think it says volumes about his character, and one should question anything else he puts out as a fact.

  7. Constant submitted a memo asking for medical leave from early August until the end of September this year. During this time, Constant had numerous meeting and media interviews. Constant attended the Republican National Convention and the League of Cities Convention in San Diego for a week. Constant got called on the carpet for doing some of these activities while on “medical leave”, and submitted an “oh shit” memo asking to take him off of medical leave and change his city council meeting from “excused” to “unexcused”. None of this even gets a small mention in the Mercury. This is the same guy who wants to reform the pension system, the very same system he takes advantage of. Anybody remember the “medical leave” he took a few years ago to lose weight? All the links for the documentation are below if you want to read for yourself.

    http://www.sjdistrict1.com/calendar/2012-Pete-Constant-Calendar.pdf

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/Agenda/20120807/20120807_0204a.pdf

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/CommitteeAgenda/Rules/20120912/rules20120912_g2.pdf

    • I’ve had 2 major back surgeries and I can tell you for certain that I was not in any condition to travel by plain or train any where!

    • Is there anyone besides me who thinks this is beyond shady? It sounds to me like time sheet fraud. And, if any officer were to do something like this, he’d be crucified, indicted, prosecuted and fired. And not necessarily in that order. How much more corruption, dishonesty and, frankly, immorality, on the council must we tolerate?

  8. And you wonder why this city is going down the sewer?  Do we still have one?

    Pete sucks up a questionable disabilty pension, sucks up a city council pay check and still runs a photo business.  I love his photo shots riding his bike to work.

    Once a lying …………never mind this is where our city is going, Chuck is the best!

  9. Oh im sure we will tolerate much much more…. the hen house doors at 5th and Clara are wide open…. The council of fox are doing one hell of a job protecting their projects with our money.

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