Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Elected city attorney measure passes muster

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 4:22 PM

A proposed ballot measure that would make the Colorado Springs city attorney an elected official — rather than appointed by the mayor and confirmed by City Council — got the green light by the city's Title Board today, which means it could land on the April 2015 city ballot.

click to enlarge Calef: One out of two ain't bad. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Calef: One out of two ain't bad.
Kanda Calef, community activist, proposed the measure, along with one that would have required all urban renewal projects to get voter approval. The latter measure was deemed to contain multiple subjects by the Title Board, which voted against setting a title for it.

But the elected county city attorney measure got approval from two of the three Title Board members, which were presiding judge of the municipal court HayDen Kane and City Clerk Sarah Johnson. A third member, City Attorney Wynetta Massey, disqualified herself from considering the city attorney measure to avoid a conflict of interest.

The Title Board meeting drew only six people, including an Independent reporter. 

The only part of the city attorney measure that was stricken was a clause that stated that outside attorneys hired as consultants by City Council would be paid fixed sums, not hourly fees. Absent that, the title language will consist of the entire ballot measure, the Title Board decided, and you can read it here:
CityAttorneyMeasure.pdf
The next step is for Calef to present petitions for approval. She can't do that prior to August 11 or after October 1. When the petitions are approved for circulation, she will have 90 days to gather signatures. The exact number is pending computation by Johnson.

The urban renewal measure was said to be outside the bounds of local voter amendment, because the Urban Renewal Authority is organized under a state law, not a city law. Here's the proposed measure:
UrbanRenewalMeasure.pdf
Members of Calef's petitioning committee are Pat Hanson, Alessandra Desiderio, Leah Hotchkiss, Vikki Walton and Tamsyn Beckwith, according to Calef.

The city attorney has been a controversial figure since the change from a city manager-council form of government to a mayor-council. The new form gives the mayor authority to hire and fire the city attorney, which some contend means city legal opinions favor the mayor's position to the detriment of the Council's position.

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