What George was up to ...

Posted by Pam Zubeck on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 1:44 PM

When George Culpepper was sent packing last week, he left some unfinished business behind, based on 274 pages of e-mail messages obtained Tuesday night by the Independent under the Colorado Open Records Act.

Most notable is a request from Councilor Joel MIller, sent on Jan. 7, two days before the city delivered Culpepper's termination notice to him.

Miller, who's earned the label of troublemaker among the powers that be, asked Culpepper to:
Miller: not a fan of the mayor's regime.
  • Miller: not a fan of the mayor's regime.

• research how to file seek a court injunction against Mayor Steve Bach. The mayor has announced he'll ignore Council's adoption of an ordinance specifying 12 departments in the city budget as specified in the City Charter, as opposed to Bach's budget structure of five departments. Miller noted in his e-mail the Charter requires the mayor to "enforce all laws and ordinances," and that one basis for forfeiture of office is if the mayor "violate[s] any express prohibition or requirement of this Charter."
(Bach maintains Council's ordinance violates the Charter; hence, he can't enforce it.)

• find examples of other cities with a council-mayor form of government in which the city attorney is appointed by the mayor and problems have resulted. "Also, are there examples that we can cite where those municipalities hire outside counsel for the City Council when a conflict arises? It's my understanding that Denver does it fairly regularly," he wrote. 

• provide information "as to how one would file a complaint with the Colorado Bar association on [City Attorney] Chris Melcher for his failure to provide counsel to a charter-defined client?"
Miller further explains, "Mr. Melcher advised the Mayor to defy ordinance 13-77 (12 departments) and failed to give any counsel or recourse to City Council despite repeated requests. Furthermore Mr. Melcher's actions to prevent Council from obtaining outside counsel has further injured City Council's legal position with regard to the budget ordinance."

Culpepper responded the next morning: "I will research this for you and see what I can find."

Of course, he won't now.

Culpepper also had many other issues on his plate, including "No Man's Land" on the west side, a fire hydrant issue and a development issue, to name a few.

He also was involved in trying to set up a meeting between the mayor's staff and Council staff to learn more details about City for Champions, the $250 million proposal to build four tourism venues. The meeting never happened, apparently, after economic vitality chief Bob Cope canceled a session originally set up for late December or early January.

After the meeting was arranged, Cope called back to say he needed to "run this meeting by the mayor," Culpepper wrote to Council President Keith King on Dec. 30. "It has now been cancelled and Bob has yet to return my phone call. So we must now wait until Jan. 16th to get any information re: C4C [City for Champions] from Bob."

That Jan. 16 meeting, Thursday, is supposed to include Council, says Councilor Helen Collins, who says she plans to attend in hopes of hearing more about C4C's financing.

The latest on City for Champions is here.

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Sounds to me as if these particular reasons may have been more likely to cause a termination of Culpepper's employment, and the Alaska Airlines incident was simply the excuse given. The public isn't stupid - they'll figure it out.

It is also obvious that Council is being stonewalled by the executive branch of local government. I do not think this was the intended relationship that proponents of the strong mayor initiative had in mind when they voted for it. Something is seriously broken here.

report 21 likes, 2 dislikes   
Posted by goldsabbath on 01/15/2014 at 4:58 PM

This is much like the typical schoolyard fights for territory, but on a level that effects half a million citizens.

We have a mayor who believes he has the power of a dictator who doesn't have to listen to the will of the Council. The council, in itself, is playing power politics trying to reel in what they consider an out of control executive branch. Meanwhile, the citizens are being hurt because the city government is failing to address some very important issues like flood control and understaffed agencies (Fire Department).

I remember thinking that this "Strong Mayor" type of government could be a real problem when it was brought to a vote. Seems that with the type of people we have in the offices, those problems are coming to pass to the harm of the city as a whole.

report 19 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Arval Becker on 01/15/2014 at 5:42 PM

Don't screw with Bach. He's a Strong Mayor.

report 7 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Bob Oaks on 01/15/2014 at 5:44 PM

We'd be better off with an orangutan in a Men's Warehouse suit.

report 16 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by pugsley on 01/15/2014 at 8:08 PM

when will government stop making it about themselves and make their job about serving the community? Politics are ridiculous. I've met Mayor Steve Bach (he's actually a really nice guy with good intentions for this city) and have heard him talk about how it has been very difficult to fill his role as it was laid out for him. Probably because of the power struggle with the City Council who was used to running the roost. I think all of us wanted something to change in our government, but yet we don't want to give the change we voted for a chance? If the city council was doing something so right, why did we need the Strong Mayor in the first place? Come on folks, get along and do something good for this city!!! Ridiculous!

report 5 likes, 28 dislikes   
Posted by Marcia Alverson on 01/16/2014 at 5:37 AM

Colorado Springs has been stuck on stupid forever...

report 8 likes, 3 dislikes   
Posted by TejonTech on 01/16/2014 at 8:38 AM

The piece of government "making it about himself" is the mayor. Bach badly wants to be a leader but he does not know how to lead. Leaders pull people and communities together; they don't try to tear them apart for one segment that thinks it knows better than everyone else. The idea of four or five people getting together and coming up with the C4C scheme, then presenting it as a done deal for 600,000 people, is reprehensible. That's also how the strong mayor concept originated.

City Council also is elected by the citizens to run the city. Mr. Bach seems to have missed this part of the charter. I'm glad many Council members are asking tough questions, but they need to get themselves independent counsel. Maybe the National League of Cities can provide advice on how to make it happen.

report 22 likes, 2 dislikes   
Posted by Clara McKenna on 01/16/2014 at 9:03 AM

Crony Capitalists (Fascists) don't like those that poke and prod... Such a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this city.

report 8 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Joel Aigner on 01/16/2014 at 1:17 PM

@Joel. I complement you on your position and calling the Mayor out. Please keep it up. I posted a comment on another article asking you if hiring Culpepper as an independent consultant was a possibility. Maybe the Mayor couldn't axe him them.

So much for the economic development platform of the Mayor....maybe the people that will want to visit our city will be the ones that want to see the notorious idiot Mayor and take pictures of him.

report 6 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Bianca on 01/23/2014 at 9:54 AM
Showing 1-9 of 9

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