Charter Review Committee Meeting – 5 March 2014 – Citizen Minutes

Charter Review Meeting

5 March 2014

Unscheduled Public Comments

Jack Randall addressed Sec. 51 on Severance Pay – we are not in the habit of firing city managers and there is no cap on salary and Sec. 51 is only used if the manager is removed.  He did not think that anyone would think that Sec. 51 hampered the hiring of Michael Penny.  He supported leaving the language as is.

Carol Brzeczek asked for a residency requirement for voting in municipal elections to be in the Charter.  Current legislation (HB-1164) did not change the residency requirements – anyone can vote in our elections if they have lived in the state of Colorado for 22 days; they can register and vote on election day with 0 days residency in Littleton.

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The subject of the direct election of the mayor was postponed to another meeting.  There were some requests for information from staff to help with the discussion.  Norm Brown noted that the council had discussed the direct election of the mayor and that the support materials provided at that time would be useful.  He suggested that populations be added as a data point.

Even though this discussion was to be postponed to another meeting there was quite a bit of time spent on the discussion.  Rather than state it here I will wait because I am certain everything said will be repeated as some of what was said had been stated before.

Chair Sally Parsons mentioned the transitional provisions – can they be eliminated from the Charter.  It was agreed that could be eliminated globally.

Stew Meagher suggested that the terms of the newly elected councilmembers begin at the first meeting in January following the November election rather than the first meeting in November after the election.  Newly elected people are exhausted from the campaign and he wanted the group to discuss this change.

Susan Thornton suggested that sometimes when people lose they are unhappy.  Brown thought both were good points.  With this past election there was an effort to get the Complan approved prior to the election.  Sometimes there will be significant changes that could be rushed through.

Brian Vogt was concerned that there could be times when 4 new council members would be elected and they would not have the benefit of any training.  Thornton said the staff does a good job of briefing all candidates.

Kent Bagley thought people running for election would not be seriously engaged until elected.  He did not care how good staff was he thought the two months of getting up to speed was important.

Brown was concerned that the definition of posting did not stipulate a printed form being posted in a public place.  Wendy Heffner, city clerk, said she could not imagine a council that would not post in a public place.  Vogt said if something is always going to happen it does not harm to include the language in the Charter.  There was no downside to doing so.

There was a short discussion on how the final report should look for the council – how should the majority and minority opinions be formatted?

Election Commission

Dr. Schiff favored 5 members over the current 3.  The group favored 5 as well.

Another discussion of the difference between a registered elector, an eligible elector and qualified elector took place.  Does a candidate for council need to be a qualified elector or a registered elector?  Eight of the thirteen committee members preferred candidates to be qualified voters.  A second vote was taken for the minority report.  Six of the thirteen members preferred candidates be registered voters.

Heffner was asked about HB-1164 said the residency requirements had been fixed by 1164 and that there is a residency requirement of 22 days in the city.   Thornton asked if the state statute trumped our Charter and Heffner said no.

The discussion continued on the difference between a qualified and registered elector.  Tom Wooten said there is a definite distinction – someone lives in the city and chooses not to engage is a qualified elector but not a registered elector.

Parsons mentioned to the group that there were two things that the committee had not addressed; the two citizen initiatives passed in the last election.  The executive session privilege charter change cannot be touched for two years – do we discuss it now or not?  Thornton said they could recommend that the council look at it in two years.

Schledorn asked each member to come forward with any ideas they have for charter changes/updates to please get them to her.

Next meeting is March 19th at 3:00 in the Community Room at the City Center.

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