Printed letters, July 25, 2013

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Come on Joseph, Jim Spehar’s comments were right on and maybe void of the typical “PC” approach, in some corners, but intently direct.  These are “ugly” times in GJ, with a dysfunctional council, a county commission who will not live up to a contractual agreement, and a chamber of commerce who is embarrassing to many GJ citizens!

Sometimes the “ugly” needs to be dealt with directly and if that is hurtful to some then so be it!
It should be a wake up call from someone who is respected in many circles that the approach they have taken is the road downhill.

If Amy Hamilton’s reporting was accurate – “Tense GJ council mulls vacancies” (July 24, 2013) – our City Council acted illegally Monday night when it voted – in effect—to “temporarily amend the city’s charter”.

Article VI, Section 50 of that Charter provides:
(a)  In legislative sessions, the council shall act by ordinance, resolution or motion.
(b)  The ayes and nays shall be taken upon the passage of all ordinances and resolutions, and entered upon the journal of its proceedings.  Upon the request of any member, the ayes and nays shall be taken and recorded upon any motion.  Every member when present must vote, and every ordinance passed by the city council shall require on final passage the affirmative vote of a majority of all members of the council.
(c)  No ordinance shall be passed finally on the date it is introduced, except in cases of special emergency, for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and then only by the unanimous vote of all members of the council.  No ordinance making a grant of any franchise or special privilege shall ever be passed as an emergency measure.
Presumably, a mere electoral impasse is not a “special emergency”.
Article IV, Section 36 states that “the council shall consist of seven members . . .” – such that a majority is four – as three council members knew when they reportedly voted to “temporarily amend the city’s charter so that three votes, not four” were sufficient to decide to fill at least one of the two vacancies by appointment rather than by election.
However, Article XVII, Section 151, makes no provision for “temporary amendments” and requires all amendments to comply with Article XX of the Colorado Constitution (which council members are sworn to uphold).
Article XX of the Colorado Constitution provides the charter of a home rule municipality can only be amended “by petition and electoral vote”.  Therefore, if the action of the three “Chamber Mades” was illegal, it was also unconstitutional.

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