Chris Constantin was approved by a 5-0 San Dimas City Council vote on Nov. 10, 2020, and began his new position as city manager on Jan. 4 despite concerns raised by residents on past controversies during a previous job.
San Dimas resident Keith Buck posted concerns to a San Dimas Facebook group about Constantin’s role as an independent police auditor in San Jose.
The Mercury News discovered that Constantin’s brother was in the San Jose police force, a fact that some members in the community felt was a potential conflict of interest given his duty to hold San Jose police officers accountable.
Constantin said he did disclose his brother’s employment and felt his experience in law enforcement provided him a unique perspective to be even more effective as an auditor.
Councilmember John Ebiner said he listened carefully to constituents and combined their feedback with his own judgement to make his determination when casting his vote.
Ebiner admitted to being concerned with headlines of the past controversy, but when he learned that the allegations were never proven in investigations, he felt satisfied to move forward with Constantin’s approval.
San Dimas Councilmember Denis Bertone said City Council was aware of the controversy in San Jose, but he believed it to be only a minor conflict of interest and more of an oversight. He does not believe the events in San Jose have an effect on Constantin’s ability to serve as the city manager.
San Dimas Mayor Emmett Badar and San Dimas City Councilmembers Ryan Vienna and Eric Weber are all prior and current law enforcement. They hold three of the five total City Council votes.
Bertone and Ebiner said they did not believe San Dimas City Council’s ties to law enforcement would bias their consideration of Constantin’s previous controversies.
Ebiner said he believes Constantin will bring an outlook that is forward looking and modern and was especially surprised with how much Constantin had known about San Dimas, saying that Constantin had watched past city council meetings, read previous agendas and frequently drove and walked around the city to interact with community members.
“I had the opportunity to meet residents while visiting,” Constantin said. “And I am absolutely ecstatic to be a part of their community. They care about their community, are involved, appreciate the essence of what San Dimas is and want to retain that.”
“I really look at places that I think are good places to live, and I want to be a part of the community,” Constantin added.
“We are most concerned about keeping a conservative budget in San Dimas,” Bertone said, confirming that the San Dimas budget has been strained by COVID-19. “We don’t want to cut any staff or programs, so we have to be very careful.”
Bertone believes Constantin’s financial background will play a key role in the city’s financial success.
Constantin will take over for Interim City Manager Brad McKinney who will return to his previous role of assistant city manager.
McKinney became the interim city manager after the abrupt retirement of former City Manager Ken Duran, who, after working for the city for 34 years, was placed on administrative leave after a series of closed-session performance evaluations early in 2020.