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News briefs from the Front Range

Search for city manager starting to wind down
Colorado Springs should have a list of top candidates for city manager in October, city spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg has said.

City-hired recruiter Avery Associates stopped accepting applications for the position on Aug. 24 and now is conducting initial interviews with candidates. Avery, which received 28 rsums, will present a list of final candidates next month to City Council and the public.

Council will then conduct interviews with candidates through November.

The position became vacant when Lorne Kramer retired in June. Assistant City Manager Mike Anderson is serving as interim city manager during the search, and he is also in the running to fill the position permanently. Greg Nyhoff, assistant city manager for operations, is the only other internal candidate. JAS

D.C. watchdog group wants probe of Lamborn
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that monitors the actions of government officials, has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, and determine whether Lamborn "violated House rules by improperly threatening two constituents."

CREW made the request by letter Tuesday to the House panel, after media coverage of two voice messages Lamborn left for Anna and Jonathan Bartha. A story in the Sept. 2 Denver Post reported the messages came in response to a letter from the Barthas published in the weekly Woodmen Edition, criticizing Lamborn for accepting contributions from gambling interests.

According to published transcripts of the voice messages, Lamborn said, "Something very serious has happened ... there is something that is blatantly false in that letter ... there are consequences to this kind of thing."

The Post story quoted Anna Bartha as saying, "We felt very threatened and intimidated, and quite frankly, scared."

Lamborn to the Post: "My hope I failed but I had hoped to meet with them privately and confidentially because lying is a serious matter." RR

Idea for pursuing foreign workers has opposition
A recent proposal by two Colorado legislators to make it easier for Colorado farmers to legally bring in foreign help was not warmly received by everyone.

"Some people think it's ridiculous to think about," says state Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo.

Despite opposition from residents and other lawmakers, Tapia and Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, are pressing forward to help farmers facing a worker shortage reportedly caused by the state's tough new immigration laws, which have scared away even legal foreign workers.

Farmers currently can get legal workers through the federal H-2A program, but Tapia says there are "almost five layers of process" that applications must pass through, creating a bureaucratic tangle that could damage agriculture in the state.

Looper says the crucial questions that need to be answered include the size of the worker shortage, a measurement of the impact to farmers and identification of hang-ups in the H-2A process. AL

District 11 announces school board candidates
Colorado Springs School District 11 announced its school board candidates Wednesday for the November election.

The candidates include incumbents Tom Strand, Janet Tanner, Charles Bobbitt and Willie Breazell. The other candidates are Delia Armstrong-Busby, Richard Van Scotter, Chyrese Exline and former City Council candidate Bob Null.

Citizens to Preserve Public Education has already endorsed Bobbitt, Strand, Tanner and Exline for the Nov. 6 election.

D-11 is known for having a controversial school board. In 2006, voters ousted board members Eric Christen and Sandy Shakes in a recall election. JAS

Contractor's case dismissed
Brian X. Scott of Colorado Springs has lost his unusual court battle, one in which he bid on the largest security contract in Iraq, labeling private security contractors in Iraq as "mercenaries."

A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge sided with the government, which argued Scott's case be dismissed because he could did not have the means to carry out the $475 million contract.

Scott, a small contractor,didn't seek to carry out the entire contract, just portions he considered legal. To do that, he argued that security contractors should be stripped from the contract.

The case, which drew on federal law banning mercenaries, had potential to hamper, even derail, the government's use of security contractors abroad.

Yet Scott, who vainly searched for a business partner, failed to prove that he could carry out provisions in the contract he considered legal. Judge Christine O.C. Miller of the claims court ruled in late August that Scott was not a viable candidate for the contract.

"Plaintiff does not adduceany history of experience completing any of the required tasks in the solicitation, nor does he show that he has the ability effectively to finance this endeavor," Miller wrote. MdY

Compiled by Anthony Lane, Ralph Routon, J. Adrian Stanley and Michael de Yoanna.

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