HARRISBURG, Penn. (TND) — Democrat John Fetterman has claimed he was both an effective mayor for the town of Braddock, Pa. and a powerhouse lieutenant governor for the state of Pennsylvania, but records reportedly show he was either often absent or kept "a light work schedule" during his tenures.
According to documents reportedly obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Fetterman missed at least 53 meetings as mayor, which is apparently more than a third of them. The tally could potentially be higher, the Washington Free Beacon notes, but records for the year 2016, when Fetterman first ran for Senate, are reportedly illegible.
Former Braddock council president Jesse Brown said in 2015 that Fetterman should have been at all the meetings, but had stopped attending following a series of confrontations.
He first come in thinking he was in charge of everything," Brown said. "Everything that’s happened in this community, he’s gotten credit for it. The people believe that all this has come about through John Fetterman, but it’s not true."
Fetterman's mayoral successor, Chardaé Jones, told Politico in 2021 that Fetterman’s absence hurt his relationships with city councilmembers.
When you’re not present at council meetings, there’s not much of a relationship there," Jones reportedly said.
Records obtained by the Associated Press show that Fetterman's apparent habit of skipping meetings followed him to his lieutenant governor role. The AP says those records show Fetterman "typically kept a light work schedule and was often absent from state business, including presiding over the state Senate, which is one of his chief duties."
Feterrman's daily schedule from Jan. 2019, when he first took office, to May of this year, when he suffered a serious stroke, shows roughly one-third of his workdays as blank, the AP claims. On days where the schedule showed Fetterman was active, the AP says a "typical work day" for him lasted around four to five hours.
The Associated Press called its findings "notable" as Fetterman has touted his credentials as lieutenant governor as evidence he's fit to win his race for a seat in the Senate. The AP even reached out to Fetterman's campaign about the absences, and a campaign spokesperson reportedly called the report a "misleading and inaccurate reflection of John’s actual schedule that totally fails to capture the breadth of his official work and his accomplishments.”
Fetterman's campaign did not explain the gaps in his schedule during his tenure as Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, the AP reported.
The AP did note that the job of lieutenant governor "is typically a stopover for politicians seeking higher office," and comes with "limited duties."
Also, nothing suggests Fetterman's absences kept Pennsylvania from "conducting important business," the AP admitted. "His formal calendars may not capture the full range of his activities," the AP added.
The COVID-19 pandemic could also be to blame, as Fetterman's defenders reportedly say the coronavirus "sapped opportunities" for the lieutenant governor.
Fetterman's schedules show his workload plummeted during the pandemic, the AP notes.
The race for a Senate seat between Fetterman and his opponent, television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, is a tight one, but Fetterman has been on top in most recent polls.