Candidates seeking reelection usually try to sway voters by maximizing every opportunity to show their dedication to public service.
But on Tuesday, Cathedral City Councilman Greg Pettis abruptly left a special meeting called to address the city’s budget crisis so he wouldn’t be late to his campaign kickoff in the city’s Dream Homes neighborhood.
Pettis mentioned he would be leaving early at the start of the meeting.
Without further comment, Pettis later got up and left as a resident was voicing concern over the city’s plan to lay off 33 employees — including police officers and firefighters — in order to close an $8 million budget deficit.
Pettis did stay long enough to explain why council members’ paychecks shouldn’t be cut.
“Each of gets $10,394 a year. So those of you who run for office are going to make a whole lot of money,” Pettis said.
“It costs council members to serve the citizens of this community, because the Boys and Girls Club, the senior center, and every other charity wants a little bit of that money and some of these things, the most important one to me, the Steve Chase Awards, I can’t write a $450 check.”
Cathedral City resident Chip Yarborough said he was “personally offended that council member Pettis would leave during such an important meeting.”
“Mr. Pettis felt he needed to keep another commitment and that was his choice,” Mayor Kathy DeRosa told The Desert Sun after the meeting.