BREAKING NEWS:  Patty Mahan Resigns, Cites Serious Medical Issues

By Robert Haugh

Councilwoman Patty Mahan will resign from the Council effective February 1, because of  “serious medical issues,” according to a City press release that came out late yesterday.

In the press release, Mayor Lisa Gillmor issued this statement:

“On behalf of the City Council, thank you to Councilmember Mahan for her significant contributions and service to the Santa Clara community. We respect her decision and are thinking of her and her family as they face a very challenging time ahead.”

The Council will declare the Councilmember’s seat vacant at their February 11th meeting. 

Mahan’s term expires in December. The Council could appoint someone to serve for the rest of the calendar year. 

But the Charter requires that five of the six remaining Councilmembers must agree on her replacement. So it’s more likely that the seat is held open and candidates can run to replace Mahan in November 2020.

Mahan has had multiple medical issues over the last few years, including cancer. She’s missed lots of meetings and has also called into Council meetings from remote locations like Wyoming and Hawaii this year.

We’ll write more about Mahan’s career in the future. But today, we extend our best wishes to her and her family.


  1. I have mixed feelings about that. You could also argue that it was not necessary to put medical detail in the letter in the first place. “I am resigning effective to focus on my health” would have been sufficient and completely understandable. The City is in a tricky position on this due to conflicts between the transparency requirements of the CPRA on one hand and legal/ethical confidentiality expectations on the other. If, as reported elsewhere, she declined a specific opportunity to resubmit the letter, I would think the City would have less of an obligation re any potential redactions, yet the CPRA obligations would be the same.

    I give Council member Mahan credit for recognizing that she can not at this time effectively fulfill the duties of that position. Imagine being on medically prudent pain medications that can cloud thinking while trying to make complex policy decisions. Choosing between suffering or making clouded decisions should not be part of the job. She should in no way feel guilty about passing the baton to a successor after so many years of public service. I hope she can focus her energy on her own needs during this difficult time and that we will soon have many qualified and honorable candidates to fill the vacancy.

  2. interesting, I looked at the City’s response on Nextdoor. The city was able to black out Patty’s address, but left other personal information available for anyone to read. Makes the city look a little bit cold-hearted. How hard would it have been to black out non-essential information?

    • Did Councilmember Mahan actually have put that information in her letter? I don’t think so.

    • I would start by saying our hearts go out to council person Mahan and her family. Mahan has served our city for several years and her leadership made a difference in Santa Clara. As far as the city announcement of her retirerment or resignation was totally appropriate. It”s no big secret of her medical condition, council person Mahan repeatly informed the public of illness, treatments and heart full speeches of her journies at several council meetings. Knowing what she was going through and still willing to serve the city showed me she is a fighter not a quitter for Santa Clara.

Leave a Reply