Mayor’s Race Affecting Closed Session Attendance

Councilmembers in San Jose can be a notoriously tardy bunch, running from one event to the next, shaking the occasional baby and kissing the occasional hand. (Wait, is it the other way around?) But it appears the mayor’s race has been especially time consuming for a couple of elected officials. And their colleagues are more than a little annoyed. Several sources on the council tell Fly that in the last couple months Rose Herrera and Sam Liccardo have consistently walked into closed session meetings late—and sometimes extremely late—only to ask questions that force city staff to repeat their reports. “When someone comes in late and starts asking questions about something that happened an hour ago it’s really not fair,” one politico lamented. Liccardo told Fly he’s been late on occasion but deadpanned, “One source of annoyance to my colleagues is that I’m running against a candidate that they support for mayor.” Closed session items discussed and voted on behind closed doors can include potential litigation, real estate transactions, labor negotiations and personnel evaluations—basically some of the biggest issues the city faces. Another councilmember told Fly that “most days” closed session items are more important than what’s discussed in open meetings. Herrera has the only unexcused absence in the last two months, according to city staff, but an interesting detail came out of Fly’s research. Councilmembers must attend closed session, open session and the occasional evening session or have their pay docked if an absence is unexcused. But there is no penalty for showing up for the last few minutes of a meeting, as long as they sign their name on a closed session roll sheet. Perhaps a timestamp is in order considering visitors to City Hall offices must note the time when they sign in. A staffer for Mayor Chuck Reed said “general tardiness” is always an issue but that Reed doesn’t recall Liccardo and Herrera missing key votes. As for the other two mayoral wannabes, sources say Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen would get an apple for her punctual attendance while Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio has occasionally run 5-10 minutes behind.

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  1. Tells you a lot about those running for mayor, they don’t care about important issues and Chuck does not give a damn. Most important is these idiots have already made up their minds on issues and do not believe they need to hear the facts. This has been ongoing under Chuck. Why people even show up to voice an opinion when the council has already their vote on issues. Do you really think any issue gets past the rules committee when the Chuck clan has not already made up their minds?
    A staffer for Mayor Chuck Reed said “general tardiness” is always an issue but that Reed doesn’t recall Liccardo and Herrera missing key votes. That sums it all up because they always vote the same as Chuckie!

    • Hey, retired, where have you been? It’s not just Chuck. The SJ City Council has decided most issues before taking public testimony since before I started attending meetings in the mid-70’s. It’s a bone the council throws to those who take the time to comment but have no clue that the council’s mind has long been made up. Those who think this is a democracy just don’t understand this.

      • Where have I been, in stairways behind council doors knowing a day ahead of time what the vote would be in case or protests. But the council had to let people vent, how is that for our city council!

    • what you say is soooo true evidenced by the recent vote on the rezoning of the Brasilia Way property. JSM developers may own the property but they don’t live in district 10. Thanks Khamis for putting the interests and concerns of district 10 residents behind those of the developers, NOT. The council dismissed the majority protest with a wave so they could get to the task of voting against the wishes of the residents of district 10.

  2. Thank you Fly! This issue is important and it needs to STOP. Every election year, this kind of inexcusable behavior happens. Instead of attending community events, or doing their job, candidates attend only their own fund raisers, or events where they hope to get votes/endorsements, and many do it on the tax payer’s dime!

    I recently asked several electeds to be a judge for an art/essay writing contest that involve at risk youth. All I heard was,” they are too busy with their campaign.” What? Give me a break!

    I’m sick of watching this happen. It’s time for change. Anyone employed by and working for the government needs to do their job FIRST and campaign on their own off time! Or take time off while running.

    • > All I heard was,” they are too busy with their campaign.” What? Give me a break!

      Well, the reality is that elected public officials are their own supervisors, set their own hours, and decide what or what not to work on.

      They can get away with anything that voters let them get away with.

      The only obvious way to encourage them to act responsibly is to whack them in the head with a ballot box.

  3. What can you do about this to be heard besides voting? Demand answers or elect someone who would really understand besides the corrupt people running.

  4. Typical , wish I could say “Im surprised’ . The Politicians here in San Jose care more about themselves than they do about actually doing the job they ate trying to get. Just another glaring example of why San Jose has become a third rate city

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