This article has been updated.
Councilman Clayton Perry plans to return to work this week, just under two months after his colleagues granted him a sabbatical to seek treatment after a car crash resulting in his arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Perry, who represents District 10, submitted a letter Wednesday to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, City Manager Erik Walsh and City Clerk Debbie Racca-Sittre stating he was “prepared to reassume” his duties at City Council’s regular meeting Thursday.
“By this notification I assert that I have sufficiently addressed the issues that prevented me from carrying out my duties as a Council member,” Perry wrote.
Perry faces charges of DWI and failing to stop and give information, both misdemeanors, in connection with the Nov. 6 incident. His first court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 24.
“All I know is he feels like he’s ready to come back,” said Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8), who received a call from Perry. “I hope he availed himself of a program — that’s what he asked us to give him time to do.”
After learning of Perry’s intention to return to the council dais, Nirenberg issued a statement reiterating his previous position on Perry’s situation.
“I have been clear from the very start. If the allegations against Councilman Perry are true, he should resign from City Council,” Nirenberg said.
In December, City Council chose Mike Gallagher, a former District 10 councilman and friend of Perry’s, to represent the district in Perry’s absence. Gallagher did not immediately return a request for comment.
An arrest affidavit stated Perry consumed 14 alcoholic beverages between 4:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. at Evil Olive Elixir Lounge the night he crashed his Jeep Wrangler into another vehicle and allegedly fled the scene of the accident.
Body camera footage from the police officer who went to Perry’s home later that night showed the councilman lying on the ground in his backyard with a cut on his head, while his vehicle was still running in the driveway.
In requesting the sabbatical in November, Perry asked his colleagues for understanding.
“I’m asking for some time for me to heal, for due process to play out and for a little humanity and compassion,” Perry said. “I’m a human. I made a bad decision. A huge one. I’d ask that my colleagues show some compassion and patience and give me time to make corrections for my most regrettable actions.”
City Council has the authority to remove a member from its body if they’re convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude,” though the term is not defined in the City Charter, and it’s unclear whether council members would pursue that option. After Perry apologized for his involvement in the crash, City Council voted to censure him but stopped short of calling for his resignation.
“In the absence of a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, City Council lacks the authority to remove a member,” Nirenberg stated Wednesday. “As it stands, the choice is up to the member and the voters.”
With city elections coming up in May, Perry hasn’t said whether he intends to run for reelection to a fourth term. The filing period for candidates opens Jan. 18.