Toward the end of today's City Council meeting, Council President Keith King
expressed dismay that one of his e-mails slipped through the barrier to the public and into the hands of a reporter and, oh my, now the cat is out of the bag.
The memo, as reported by John Hazlehurst
in the Colorado Springs Business Journal
, isn't really that sexy. King talks about how Council wants to be a good neighbor and do projects in each district and present a united front in watching your tax dollars.
Perhaps more notable than the contents of his e-mail, which he sent to Council over the weekend, is the idea that King would think such communications are private. Ahem. Excuse me, but when Council members talk as a body, that's an open meeting
and the public is entitled to attend.
"What’s unfortunate is the confidentiality doesn’t exist," King said. "Something we should be aware of when we do our e-mail correspondence, that things get to where they shouldn’t be before we have a chance to discuss them."
I guess that's the cost of open government. To his credit, though, King said there was nothing secret about his message to council; he just wished it hadn't leaked before they all had a chance to weigh in.
In any event, here's his message. Note: We've bolded some text for readability.
As we approach the start of a new year, I always see it as an opportunity to evaluate where we have been and where we are going. Like many of you, I have received many different responses to recent Council decisions. I look forward to collaborating with each of you as we work to accomplish our goals, both individually and as the governing body of our great City.
There is an additional part to this marketing plan that I do not address. It is the legislative agenda for 2014. George Culpepper will start working for the Council after the start of the New Year and I think we should wait until the retreat to finalize an agenda so he can participate. There are several items we will need to address: Creating a specific stormwater proposal, continued work on the budget process for the city and utilities, and City for Champions if it is approved. I think it is important find our leadership role. Thanks for your involvement in the process.
Our Theme for 2014
*Council’s your Neighbor
*We will be proactive in our leadership to implement our strategic plan.
We will be proactive and start the New Year with an agenda that focuses on the neighbors in our Districts. We have established our position as a significant force that is willing to ask tough questions and we will continue to do so. We will also continue to work to find common ground with the Mayor and County Commissioners without compromising our values.
1. *We will ask the tough questions that others have never asked, especially those that are a stewardship of the citizen’s money. These questions will be pertinent and important to successful fulfillment of our mission.
2. *We will work with our constituents to help them make each of our districts a better place to live, work and play.
3. *We will communicate directly with our citizens using townhall meetings, emails and press conferences to get out our message.
4. We will tell the truth about our positions and if we make a mistake, we will admit it.
5. We will strive to make a positive difference in our city and will make every effort to project a positive image of Council and our City.
6. We will not allow difference of opinions or advocacy on issues damage our ability as a Council to work together to accomplish good things for our city.
1. *We will be active in our districts and the city listening to what they say.
2. *We will use as our motto: Council’s your neighbor!
3. *We will encourage each member to collaborate with each other to work in establishing one or more significant initiatives in each of the districts during the first six months of the year. At large councilmembers will be encouraged to work on initiatives that affect the entire city.
4. We will let people know what we are working to accomplish for them.
5. We will be motivated to work together as a team.
6. We will stay positive about our work and focus on our service to the city.
1. *We will accomplish our part of the City and Utilities budgets before the end of the year.
2. We will finish all the budget related items like: community involvement of utilities and funding of LART for the 2014 fiscal year by our final board meeting on January 28th, 2014.
3. We will establish our legislative priorities at our board retreat on January 24th, 2014 and announce them at our January 28th, 2014 board meeting
4. We will hold a press conference on Monday, December 16th, 2013 at 2 p.m. to announce our new strategy if we have an agreement to do so.
5. We will hold a LART meeting the week of January 9th, 2014 to finalize the LART budget for first reading at the January 14th, Council board meeting.
6. We will hold the Finance committee meetings during the week of December 16th and if necessary the week of January 9th, 2014 to finalize our Utility budget for final vote at the January 18th, 2014 board meeting.
1. *We will be positive about our mission and if a disagreement happens we will resolve it among ourselves and keep it from being personal.
2. We will be positive about our relationship with the Mayor and the executive branch of the city. Disagreements will not become personal.
3. We will respond only to negative comments concerning our work as council, only from our staff and we will not go negative in the media.
4. We will have freedom to use our own personal websites and Facebook communication systems to inform our citizens and constituents about our personal positions on issues.
5. We will continue to work aggressively for Colorado Springs and our neighborhoods but will separate issues from personalities as a Council.
6. We will appoint one of our members, probably the President, to be proactive in reminding all of Council and staff of our theme and goals and act as a liaison to other branches of our government or other public officials.
1. *We will decide individually about using our individual money for our districts and other remaining Council appropriations as necessary to inform the city of our goals.
2. We will decide how to market our goals by the retreat.
3. We will hold a press conference after our retreat to explain our goals.
4. We will schedule interviews with every media outlet that will allow us to discuss our goals.
5. We will use the city marketing department to help market for our goals.
6. We will begin each meeting of our Council with neighborhood involvement from our various districts. We will start with Council District 1 in January and continue monthly through the districts.
1. We will develop an internship to give us monthly updates on our progress in accomplishing our goals.
2. We will use our staff to help us serve our districts and city in a proactive way and keep us focused on being positive.
3. We will hold a retreat in June to evaluate our progress and continued implementation of our theme.
1. Week of December 2, 2013
a. Contact all council members about proposal
b. Incorporate their input
2. Week of December 9, 2013
a. Complete marketing design
b. Discuss at Council planning meeting on Tuesday pre council meeting
c. Show at lunch at Garden of the Gods on December 20th, 2014
3. Week of December 16, 2013
a. Press conference at 2 p.m. on Monday if Council agrees
b. Hold Finance Committee meetings if possible
4. Week of January 9th, 2014
a. Hold additional Finance Committee meetings if necessary.
b. Prepare both LART and Community Investment ordinances for adoption if necessary
c. Adopt on first reading at the January 40th, 2014 board meeting
5. Week of January 20th, 2014
a. Conduct Press conference on Monday, January 20th, 2014 at one p.m.
b. Attend board retreat on January 24th , 2014
6. Week of January 27th, 2013
a. Conduct Council Meeting for second reading on the budget.
b. Conduct press conference on January 27th, 2014