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04.22.09

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Silicon Valley News Notes

What's Up, Bro?

Apparently, even Chris Constantin realized the foolishness of the city of San Jose's decision to hire him as the new Independent Police Auditor even though he has a big brother who is an SJPD homicide detective, and then to keep that fact under wraps. Constantin, who works in the city auditor's office, resigned Monday night, just a week after being appointed the new IPA. But he didn't go without leaving a final message for Mayor Chuck Reed: "I hope that by taking this action, the Mayor and Council can ensure that the process for hiring the Independent Police Auditor is done in a transparent and fair process that reflects the importance of this critical position," he said in a statement on his way out the door, following a daylong series of political maneuverings. On Monday morning, Councilwoman Nora Campos fired off a letter to Reed, blaming him for furthering the distrust between the community and the San Jose Police Department. Campos claimed that the mayor never disclosed the fact that Constantin's brother is on the force. "The fact that this material piece of information was not disclosed makes me question the integrity of the hiring process," Campos says in the letter. She goes on to say: "During the hiring process, you informed me that anyone with potential conflicts of interest or the potential to draw negative publicity would be immediately disqualified." Reed, whose office vetted the IPA candidates, stood by his recommendation of Constantin. His office put out a memo of his own, asking, among other things, that the council allow the public to see council votes, as well as other discussion and materials presented at the closed-door meeting when the group signed off on hiring Constantin. It was at this closed-door meeting that the mayor says he told his colleagues about Constantin's brother. Reed continues to say he doesn't feel there was a conflict of interest with Constantin being the police watchdog. Even after Constantin resigned, Reed stood by his decision—and his process. "I regret he felt he needed to make the decision but I think it reflects the integrity and concern for the community that he would have brought to the job," Reed said. According to Reed's office, the mayor is researching and reviewing methods to hiring the next IPA before proceeding.

 

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