Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mayor announces joint city meeting, other updates

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Steve Bach
  • Steve Bach
At today's monthly press conference, Mayor Steve Bach announced that he will hold monthly meetings with City Council to improve communication and collaboration, and work on joint issues.

The first meeting will be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18. This means the meeting will conclude after the Independent's weekly deadline; today's meeting came the day after the Independent published.

Bach said the meeting with Council will likely feature many important issues, including how the city will form a single strategic plan, given that the city charter calls for both the mayor and the City Council to produce one.

Bach, however, said he did not anticipate posting an agenda for the meeting in advance, saying attendees could get a copy at the meeting. That could mean that journalists and citizens will have no idea what issues will be discussed at the meetings until they occur. Bach excused that concern by saying the point of holding the meeting was to avoid the hassle and impracticality of meeting with the nine members of Council separately in private.

Other items the mayor discussed include:

Memorial Health System: The mayor congratulated City Council on selecting the University of Colorado Hospital bid. He added that as City Attorney Chris Melcher goes through the negotiations for the lease of Memorial, he plans to give advice to the attorney. This is despite the charter giving the mayor no power over Memorial other than the right to sign contracts.
"Yes, I will be at the table," Bach said.
Bach said he planned to know the details of any contract thoroughly, saying, "This cannot be another Nancy-Pelosi-we-need-to-sign-the-bill-to-know-what's-in-it."
Bach added that he wants moneys from the lease to go into a city fund that is independent of the general fund. The money would only be spent after a "community conversation."

Colorado Springs Utilities: Bach detailed his delay in signing a $150 million line of credit for Colorado Springs Utilities, a story first reported today in the Independent. Bach stressed that he felt it was reasonable to spend time considering the contract and criticized our story, saying it suggested he was "interfering" or "not cooperating."

Legal troubles: Bach said he expected that a suit from a former city finance director, Terri Velasquez, would be resolved within a few weeks. Velasquez sued for wrongful termination, among a host of other claims.

Finally, the mayor also said he expected to hear back from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation on its probe into the Colorado Springs Police's Metro VNI unit, after the latter's fudged investigation into a local Hooters. Results should be available within a few weeks, the mayor said.

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