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Tustin Council to Consider an Attendance Rule; Bullying Still Permitted

When I attended Catholic School as a wee lad in Central New York, the nuns would take attendance at Mass that Sunday.  If you didn’t make it to church that Sunday, on Monday “Sister” would question “why didn’t you go to Mass on Sunday” and if she wasn’t satisfied with the answer, you had to turn your palm up so she could smack you with a metal ruler until you cried.  At tonight’s Tustin council meeting, Councilman Jerry Amante, perhaps still stinging from being called a school yard bully to his face by fromer Council member Pam Keller in mid-May, will introduce some sort of “attendance policy” for members of the Tustin city council.

The policy unfairly singles out Council member Deborah Gavello who has excused absences for several meetings because she has undergone treatments for skin cancer and may have been under doctors orders not to go.  We’ve pointed out, the work done by council members outside of the actual city council meetings represents about 95 percent of a council member’s daily work.

We caution the council to be careful about what they ask for here: imagine if you will that Councilman Amante has prostate cancer or severe hemorrhoids or a pimple on his butt that requires him to miss several council meetings.  Ten bucks says he’ll be excused from the council meeting becasude he has a note from his doctor.  But this isn’t good enough for Gavello.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a good government policy issue being debated — its politicized bullying to a new level because Amante won’t give an inch preferring to lambast Gavello instead of working with her on behalf of the voters.  The lesson here is “don’t embarass Amante ever.” And by Keller showing up in Mid-May, Amante was red faced.

From the Register’s story, which, in my opinion, is very one-sided towards Amante:

Councilman Jerry Amante is asking the City Council to create an attendance policy for its members.

The item, to be heard by the council Tuesday night, recommends that council members be allowed to discuss absences during public meetings, and reprimand members who miss more than two meetings a quarter.

Tustin falls under the California government code, which states that a council position will become vacant if a member is absent without permission for 60 consecutive days from the last regular meeting the member attended.

In recent months, Amante has been critical of Councilwoman Deborah Gavello for her absences.

Gavello is the only member with absences this year, city records show. She did not attend three regular council meetings and one special meeting in January.

At the April 17 City Council meeting, Gavello said she had had “two major skin cancer surgeries and many minor ones” and that the city manager had been made aware of her situation

What makes the Register’s story a bit one sided here is that a month after the April 17 meeting, former Fullerton Council member Pam Keller called Amante on his challenge to Gavello to “produce an elected official who could back up her story” that Amante is a bully.  Keller showed up and told Amante in public to his face he was.  Amante, who can recall the attendance of every elected official he has served with for eight years, “couldn’t recall the incident.”

Not that you read a word about this in the Register.


  1. junior junior June 19, 2012

    Did Gavello have a doctor’s note for her absences?

  2. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | June 19, 2012

    Does Amante get detention for going way over budget on legal fees?

  3. junior junior June 20, 2012

    Amante is a bully and Gavello is prone to questionable absences. Both are acting like children.

    How is Gavello singled out? The policy applies to all council members. If she, or any council member, gets a doctors note then no problem.

  4. RaegsiterWatcher RaegsiterWatcher June 20, 2012

    Dont expect to read any balanced coverage from the Register on this. Amante told Elysse James he gets good press or she gets shut out. That why you didn’t read a word about Pam Keller calling Amante a bully last month. It’s like it didnt happen. Does Ms. james send her stories to Lisa Woolery before the Register runs them. Tustin has one of the most corrupt councils in the county but you’d never know it

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | June 20, 2012

      That’s the rumor, but I don’t believe it. Jeff Gallagher and I had lunch with Elysse and I told her that rumor and she laughed. She is a young reporter but I’m sure one that knows her job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I did complain to her editor that she did not cover Pam Keller’s remarks; anytime a former elected calls a sitting council member from another city a bully from the dias, that’s news. What also was news is Amante’s amnesia about the incident; must be hard to keep track of so many bullying incidents.

  5. keepdapeace keepdapeace June 22, 2012

    Junior, Gavello is hardly acting the child here. Her absences are legitimate and she has followed the rules and the law in reporting her absences in advance to the city manager. She offered to set aside her differences and sit down with Boss Tweed Amante over pie. Amante is a bully with an apparently poor memory.

    I also questioned Elysse publicly on her Twitter feed and she admitted that she never followed up on the iPads that don’t save money or the public dissertation by Keller even though she was there. Right now, with the news of the pending sale, she probably has bigger things to worry about.

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