San Antonio District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg's Chief of Staff, Jeff Bazan, has resigned nearly a week after a secret audio recording was leaked to the San Antonio Express-News.
In the recording of a late May staff meeting in District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan's office, Bazan, Chan and other staffers are heard strategizing against a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance that would add protections for gender identity, sexual orientation and veteran status to the City Charter. Bazan formerly worked for Chan as chief of policy.
“No morals and values,” Bazan said on the recording, in a conversation about homosexuals. “Pretty soon what's going to happen, because liberals and like the pro-gay folks, say that as long as it's between two consenting adults. That's pretty wide. That can go for incest and say it's an adult man and his adult daughter, hey, they're consenting adults,” he said.
Via text messages Thursday, Bazan responded, “No,” when asked if he had stepped down from his position in Nirenberg’s office. “I’m on staff today and will be on staff tomorrow and next week and after that,” he later said.
But reached by phone on Thursday night, Nirenberg confirmed that Bazan had tendered his resignation. Nirenberg said both he and Bazan came to the conclusion that there was no way to move forward without the cloud of Bazan's comments lingering in Nirenberg's new administration.
Nirenberg said he believes Bazan is a “good man” and that as a friend, he will help Bazan find another job.
Nirenberg said Bazan is effectively no longer a member of his staff, but that he will transition his now former chief of staff out of the position over the course of a month.
Nirenberg said Bazan will still receive a paycheck from the position, noting that Bazan has a young family to provide for. Bazan's salary could not be immediately determined, though it will be made available through an open records request.
T.J. Mayes, an attorney who is a policy advisor for Nirenberg, will continue his interim duties as Nirenberg’s chief of staff. Nirenberg said he will begin the search for a new staff member.