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Ken Jaray: Fully committed to transparency 

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I am responding to Ralph Routon’s opinion piece. Ralph suggested that a more definitive explanation about Jason Wells’ departure as our city administrator might be in order. While I am fully committed to transparency in government, there are a few legally defined areas where it is appropriate to limit the details that are made public.

One of the areas that often require a substantial degree of privacy deals with city personnel issues. Our human relations director is obligated to protect the privacy of our employees. The City Council, in its oversight role of the city administrator’s position, is obligated to no less. What I am able to share with the community is that the City Council, through myself and Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Fortuin, was asked by Mr. Wells to advise him sooner [rather] than later if we were planning to make any changes to his position. To provide him with an answer, an executive session of the City Council was called.
One of City Council’s focuses is to ensure that the performance for all city employees is based, in large part, on implementing our Master Plan through general leadership and management standards. Oftentimes it may be difficult for members of our community to fully grasp how these standards are being implemented unless you sit through City Council meetings over some period of time, read the weekly packets, or have access to information that might not be widely distributed. It should be noted that four of the Council members had worked directly with Mr. Wells for almost four years, during their previous terms. New Council members had the benefit of frequent contacts with Mr. Wells through their prior roles as members of boards and commissions or as community activists. Council also had access to a confidential review done by the prior City Council and mayor.
Having discussed Mr. Wells’ question in executive session, Nancy and I met with him, and reached a mutually agreeable separation agreement, in accordance with his contract. Although I am not able to share the confidential details of conversations that took place in executive session, that separation was promptly reported to the community the following day. We want to stress that there was no precipitating event leading to this change and that Mr. Wells’ ethical and moral standards are above reproach.

I do appreciate the trust and confidence that the community has shown in our current City Council and will make every effort to live up to those expectations and be as transparent as possible.

— Mayor Ken Jaray, Manitou Springs

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