Bach to Council: You can't tell me what to do.
UPDATE: We just got this statement from Council members responding to the mayor's veto.
The message is from Councilor Andy Pico
Councilmember Don Knight and I are disappointed in the Mayor’s veto of Ordinance 14-6 which addresses Mayoral appointees. This non-controversial ordinance, which was written consistent with the legal opinion provided by the City Attorney’s Office and with input from the Executive Branch, was carefully crafted in order to not intrude in the Mayor’s clear-cut authority over hiring decisions while also ensuring that we met our responsibility under the City Charter to confirm appointments of department heads.
The Mayor does not have, as he incorrectly asserts in his veto message, exclusive authority without restrictions. Section 4-40 (f) of the Charter is absolutely clear—Mayor’s appointments are ‘Subject to confirmation by the concurring vote of a majority of the members of City Council.’
However, the Mayor has taken the position that confirmation of temporary appointees is not needed. The Charter is silent on this point. Ordinance 14-6 focused on clarifying that point as well as the limits of a temporary appointment. Without such an ordinance, the Mayor is in direct violation of Section 4-40 (f) in that he has failed to request confirmation of a number of temporary department heads. So in effect, the Mayor has vetoed a section of the Charter as being in conflict with the Charter.
—————ORIGINAL POST TUES., FEB. 4, 2014, 2:25 P.M.———
Mayor Steve Bach
announced today in a news release that he vetoed Colorado Springs City Council's
ordinance adopted Jan. 28 that empowers Council to move ahead with confirmation of an interim appointee after six months if a permanent appointee is not submitted for consideration.
The ordinance stems from Bach's appointment in June of Dave Lethbridge
as interim public works director, although Lethbridge didn't apply for the job and didn't meet the posted job requirements, such as being a licensed engineer.
The measure, which did not require Council to hold confirmation proceedings for the interim appointee, did allow Council to "request that the mayor provide a plan to fill the vacancy."
In a letter to Council released by Bach, the mayor said the ordinance "attempts to usurp executive authority over hiring and firing decisions reserved exclusively to the mayor."
"The discretionary language found in Ordinance No. 14-6 does not change the effect of the Council's intrusion on the Mayor's separate and distinct powers to appoint, suspend, remove supervise and direct the work of City government employees pursuant [to the City Charter], and to make permanent appointments to the positions listed in [the Chater]," the letter said
To read the ordinance and the complete letter, see this:
See related PDF
We've asked for a comment from Council and will report back when we hear something.