Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Power move: Commissioners select leaders, rules

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 12:03 PM

county-commissioners.jpeg

The distribution of power in the county was decided in a board meeting yesterday.

The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 to make Dennis Hisey chair, Amy Lathen vice chair and Sallie Clark third chair.

The arrangement was opposed by Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Peggy Littleton, who have often formed a minority voting bloc since pushing for a second vote on term limits.

In 2010, county commissioners successfully asked voters for the ability to serve three terms instead of two, but many voters afterward said they felt tricked by misleading language. Littleton and Glenn pushed for the an item on the ballot revisiting the change in 2011, but the item was not added until 2012, giving Hisey and Clark a chance to run for third terms.

In 2012, voters reduced term limits to two terms, while simultaneously re-electing Hisey and Clark to third terms.

The term limits debate clearly is still affecting county politics — both Glenn and Littleton said they opposed Hisey as chair because of that issue. "I've looked at this a variety of different ways, and the big issue is term limits," Glenn noted.

Both commissioners, however, said they would respect Hisey's authority following the vote.

Aside from leadership roles, the commissioners also addressed rules and procedures yesterday. Littleton and Glenn scored a victory when commissioners agreed to revert to old language on a rule that Hisey had proposed changing.

The rule allows two commissioners to refer an item to the agenda, but Hisey wanted to change it to allow three commissioners to remove an item from the agenda. Littleton argued that such an arrangement constituted a de facto vote on measures before they were brought before the public.

"This is an end-run around public process," she said.

Glenn noted that if Hisey's recommendations were in place in 2011, the term limits issue never would have been brought to the ballot again. Several citizens sided with Glenn and Littleton, prompting the other commissioners to agree to revert to the old rule.

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