Got an answer: Councilman Kevin Faulconer is on vacation.
Steve McNally is the chief of staff for Faulconer, whose absence at yesterday’s pivotal council meeting I found intriguing.
Take a look at this schedule of the City Council’s business. Look at all of these weeks that the City Council is on legislative recess. These are the weeks — 15 of them! — for breaks. Faulconer couldn’t take one of these weeks off instead?
I don’t begrudge anyone a vacation. Time off can clear your head, save your marriage and make you a more productive person.
But it sure seems convenient that at the moment when Faulconer would have to make one of the most difficult decisions he’s had since he began his term, he’s just gone.
Remember, on the one hand, Faulconer took the firefighters’ help and accepted their financial support on behalf of his campaign. On the other, as the councilman is fond of saying, he’s firmly committed to Mayor Jerry Sanders’ “reform agenda.”
So he would have arrived at a crossroads: Here the council is angling to get the firefighters a salary increase in spite of the mayor’s vehement opposition.
And Faulconer goes on vacation.
Councilman Jim Madaffer also was on vacation and his colleague Brian Maienschein was out today as well. (His aide said he was sick. Maienschein was there last night late and complained that he felt ill.) With all three of these Republicans gone during labor agreement talks, the council couldn’t come to a decision about what to do with the firefighters.
Now, Madaffer … what am I going to say? I’m done worrying about Madaffer. He doesn’t proclaim himself to be a reformer nor would I believe him if he did.
Maienschein was there yesterday and seems genuinely sick — though he’s made it a habit over the past year or more to skip important meetings. Again, he’s old news.
Faulconer? Faulconer’s supposed to be the new generation. The new Republican hope. Sanders’ right hand.
I haven’t seen him in a similarly stressful decision. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that Faulconer deliberately intended to miss this week. After all, it’s not like these labor issues just happened to come up this week. This is the week they’re intended to come up. Faulconer, by vacationing this week, chose to miss out on some of the most important discussions of the budgeting process — even though the Council is afforded plenty of free time to travel when meetings aren’t held.
I offered McNally several hours to try to figure out what Faulconer would have decided if he were here.
McNally called back and said he simply couldn’t get in touch with the councilman.