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A laughing matter; Mayor only attends council meetings when it's "important"

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Mayor Pete Buttigieg laughed off concerns over his Chief of Staff slipping out of this week’s Common Council Meeting before it was over.

“I’m sure he would have been delighted to talk to everybody, but we had a lot of work going on,” said Buttigieg.

The mayor also explained why he was a no show as well. “I don’t make every council meeting; I try to get there when we have important issues,” said Buttigieg.

Buttigieg’s opinion of what is important may be contested by the people who went before the council to raise questions and voice their opinion on his decisions.

Monday night’s Common Council meeting was the first time the full council has been together at a public meeting since the firing of Karen DePaepe and the demotion of former South Bend Police Chief Darryl Boykins.

However, if people had a problem with his absence, they did not show up Tuesday night to let him know it.

Tuesday night Buttigieg held his third Mayor’s Night; an open forum for the public to meet and talk to him one on one about anything their heart desires.

The attendance this time around was far fewer than previous nights.

Around a dozen or so people were in the room at any one time, and few brought up his absence or pressed him for answers over the firing of DePaepe or the demotion of Boykins.

Still, the mayor acknowledged there are many people in the community who are still seeking answers.

That has not swayed the mayor’s unwillingness to provide details when questioned about anything related to the situation.

When asked about Boykins or DePaepe, he says he can’t talk about personnel issues.

When asked about the recording, he says he has been advised by his attorneys not to talk about it.

He claims listening to the recording would be illegal, but there have been a few that pointed out no federal charges have been filed against anyone involved in the FBI investigation into potential violations of federal wiretapping and eavesdropping laws; Buttigieg has confirmed the investigation is over.

Supporters who want the recording released argue: no charges means no crime was committed in the recording of the conversation, therefore the recording must not be illegal, thus neither would listening to it be considered illegal; and the same could be said for releasing it to the public.

The mayor could clear this whole mess up, if he could produce a statement from the FBI or other federal agency that clearly states the recording was illegally captured. He has not done that, and several groups simply wonder why.

Instead, Buttigieg has hid behind attorney’s “recommendations” not to release or discuss the recording.

But if recent City Attorney’s recommendations were spot on, the St. Joseph High School / Family Dollar Deal would not have gone to court and been ruled a violation.

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