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.