Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mayor's schedule worth a closer look

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 5:27 PM

A lot has happened since Steve Bach took office as the city's first strong mayor. He's chosen a few key employees, watched a few others leave and pledged to roll up his sleeves to manage a tight budget and work to create more jobs.

Some would argue a person can be judged to a certain extent by the company he keeps, so we asked for Bach's calendar from the time he took office on June 7 through Aug. 25 to get an idea of who has his ear.

Bach: An open calendar doesn't mean hes not busy.
  • Bach: An open calendar doesn't mean he's not busy.

First off, nothing earth-shattering jumped out.

As one might expect, scattered throughout his calendar were various ceremonial appearances, such as providing a welcome to the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals on June 23 at The Broadmoor, a welcome on July 4 for the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament, and a speech at the Broadmoor Rotary Club on Aug. 25.

But otherwise, his calendar is vague, and purposefully so, he says.

For example, several entries for "private appts" might refer to city-related business or might not, he says in an interview.

One such meeting was with the CEO of an employer who was "unhappy with the business climate and wanted to talk one-on-one about problems the company was having," Bach says.

On July 5, he met with defense contractor Booz/Allen/Hamilton under the heading "Economic Vitality." In fact, he's had nine other meetings labeled economic vitality, but no person or company was named.

Oddly missing from his calendar are entries denoting his interviews with candidates for key appointed positions, including director of communications (Cindy Aubrey was ultimately chosen) and Economic Vitality Specialist (Donna Nelson got the job). He says he did interviews with other people.

According to Bach's calendar, he's met with Councilors Lisa Czelatdko, Tim Leigh, Jan Martin and Scott Hente. Bach couldn't say for sure whether he's met with the other Council members individually, saying, "Some of my meetings are not scheduled. Some budget briefings are not on the calendar."

Bach had several meetings for "confidential personnel matters" in July. Former Finance Director Terri Velasquez was fired July 28 after a 30-day paid administrative leave. Velasquez has filed a $1 million claim against the city, alleging wrongful termination.

Here's a rundown of people he's met with who are named on his calendar:

Stephannie Finley, a Chamber of Commerce employee who filled in as communications director until Aubrey came on the scene

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

Chief of Staff Steve Cox

Bach's assistant, Linda Bonewell

City employee Bob Cope, who has worked in the economic development department

Col. Wayne Montief at Schriever Air Force Base

Police Protective Association

Neighborhood activist and former mayoral candidate Dave Munger

Susan Davies with the Trails and Open Space Coalition

Taxpayers for Budget Reform, a group that has lobbied for farming out city work, including snow plowing and street repairs

USOC chief Scott Blackmun

UCCS chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak

Ultra Petroleum, the Houston-based firm who wants to drill for oil and gas on the Banning Lewis Ranch acreage it's trying to buy out of bankruptcy

Mary Lou Makepeace, former Springs mayor who now heads the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado

Assistant city manager Nancy Johnson

Police Chief Rick Myers

Fed Ex 350 Spectrum LP

Regional Leadership Forum (on Aug. 15, three days before he met with Council President Pro-Tem Jan Martin and RLF members about the Memorial Health System task force)

The City Committee (a group of business people giving the city advice on budgetary and operational matters)

U. S. Sen. Mark Udall

But don't let his calendar fool you. While there are entire half-days without a single entry, Bach says that's not indicative of his real schedule.

"I spend a lot of time on the phone, and I spend a lot of time traveling around the city talking to people," he says. "I’ve been meeting with CEOs of major employers. Typically I don’t put those on the calendar. It seems like I’m scheduled 24/7."

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