12/19/14 Mayor and City Council

Mayor Bach has decided to not run again for Mayor. He has done many positive things for our community in his tenure as our first “Strong Mayor”, and by being the first Mayor with the change of City governance, he had to make decisions based on how he interpreted the City Charter, which was not changed from the City Manager governance model to the Strong Mayor governance model during the 2011 Mayoral election. City Council also had to interpret the City Charter to determine what powers they should have in the governmental “check and balance” system. The problem has been that the Mayor and City Council have not agreed on what their responsibilities and powers should be, and thus the disputes. Once the Mayor makes a decision on a specific issue, he takes the position that if you agree with him, you’re with him, but if you don’t, you’re against him. There is very little room for any compromise by him once his position is determined, and this attitude has offended many of the members of our City Council. City Council has also had their egos bruised by not being involved in some of the Mayor’s decisions and actions, most specifically the City for Champions, where Council felt that they were left out of the decision to go after the State’s RTA money. There also continues to be hard feelings by Council toward the Mayor regarding Council having their own staff and being able to have unbiased opinions from the City Attorney’s office. These hard feelings between the Mayor and Council have escalated to a point where Council may be seeking a declaratory judgment against the Mayor regarding the budget veto override position that the Mayor has taken on the City’s 2015 budget.

Both the Mayor and City Council have some valid points to defend their positions, but this constant fighting which produces negative headlines for our community has to stop. It shouldn’t be that hard to modify the City Charter or make a significant revision to it, if both sides could sit down and together, agree on what needs to be changed and how to change it. The April election is less than 4 months away, at which time we will have a new Mayor and a different City Council. Council should wait until then before making any changes to our City Charter, so that there can be a collaborative process by which both sides can together modify the City Charter to clarify the areas of ambiguity.

Colorado Springs Forward has taken this position and will continue to work with City Council in hopes of them not putting anything on the April 2015 ballot which would change our City Charter. Let’s wait until after April and do it the right way.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Colorado Springs Forward