Council Review: Mahan Resigns, Santana Gets a Raise (Sorta) 

By Robert Haugh

Councilwoman Patty Mahan attended her final Council meeting last night.  She showed up at the Council meeting to announce her retirement after over two decades of time in various public offices. Mahan read a statement summarizing her proudest achievements. 

Her top three were: the building of Levi’s Stadium, creating six council districts and funding South of Forrest neighborhood improvements.

A couple of residents spoke to compliment Mahan. One of the speakers was her sister, Jeannie Mahan. The Council then complimented Mahan for her service. Councilwoman Debi Davis was the only one not to address Mahan’s retirement.

Controversy

Before the meeting, there was a lot of controversy about Mahan’s announcement. 

Last week, Mahan accused City staff of releasing public information about her health. But according to city staff, they followed the right procedure because Mahan herself included it in an email to City staff.

In a City press release City Attorney Brian Doyle said:  

“When a councilmember resigns, that is a public act of a public official so we had to report it to the Council. Eventually whatever the communication is that says, ‘I am hereby resigning’ – that is communicated to Council so they can do their duty under the Charter to declare the seat vacant.” 

The press release outlines the events leading up to last night:

Councilmember Patricia M. Mahan’s official resignation, dated Jan. 22, 2020, was transmitted to the City Council as part of the online agenda packet for the Jan. 28, 2020 Council and Authorities Concurrent Meeting.

On Jan. 22, City Manager Deanna J. Santana contacted Councilmember Mahan regarding the Councilmember’s resignation and advised her that the proper steps would be followed. Nothing in Councilmember Mahan’s official resignation statement mentions confidentiality. 

On Jan. 23, Ms. Santana offered Councilmember Mahan the opportunity to resubmit her letter and she declined.

Next Steps

At the February 11 Council meeting, Council will declare Mahan’s seat vacant. According to the City Charter, the Council must act within 30 days of the vacancy being announced. These options include:

  • Appointing someone to the seat by a four-fifths vote (5 of the 6 remaining Councilmembers);

  • Holding a special election; or

  • Keeping the seat vacant until the November 2020 election.

City Manager Raise

The Council approved raising Santana’s salary from $403,320 to $448,491. In the process, they got rid of a $45,000 annual housing allowance. The vote was 5-1 with Councilman Raj Chahal opposing. 

Chahal read from a prepared statement and said that he had done a lot of his own research. He concluded that Santana was overpaid compared to other local city managers. Chahal did not actually present any numbers last night. Other councilmembers seemed irritated that he hadn’t brought up his research before. 

This is the second time this month that Chahal dropped some research on the Council at the last minute. He did that with the JLL contract renewal. He lost that vote 5-1, too.

One comment

  1. So now her housing allowance is in her salary, which is PERS’able. So she spiked her salary for when she retires.

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