Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
Collins: Disputes finding of ethics breaches.
As the procedure for an ethics complaint against Springs City Councilor Helen Collins
finally comes to a head later this month, Collins isn't budging an inch.
In a 16-page response to hearing officer Boyd Boland's recommendation that Collins be censured — a meaningless symbolic action that has no impact on her participation as a Council member — Collins demands that the other eight Council members disqualify themselves.
Her reasons are:
• All eight are named in an ethics complaint filed by Collins and Douglas Bruce in September, setting up a conflict of interest for them to now sit in judgment of Collins.
• Councilors essentially are sitting in judgment of its own complaint, since it was filed against Collins by the City Attorney's Office, which represents Council.
• The hearing officer was never officially hired by the Council, which is required under the ethics procedure.
• Councilor Keith King has previously said he agreed with the Independent Ethics Commission's findings of violations, which demonstrates "prejudice."
Collins' response also refers to Boland repeatedly as the HO (hearing officer) and accuses him of having conflicts of interest.
She closes with this: "All written motions and requests by Collins were wrongly denied by the HO. This corrupt process denies Collins a number of her federal civil rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, and equal protection, as well as the right to run for and serve in public office."
Read her complete response here:
See related PDF
Council has called a special meeting on March 15 to consider the hearing officer's recommendation, which is censure without imposing a fine. Monetary penalties are reserved for those who benefit financially from ethics breaches.