McEvoy pockets $1.15 million
Dr. Larry McEvoy won't win any popularity contests in Colorado Springs, but he'll know how Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? winners feel. After City Council decided Monday not to mount a legal fight over his severance agreement, the former Memorial Health System CEO walked away with a fresh $1.15 million in the bank.
Council, after a lengthy executive session with City Attorney Chris Melcher, prepared a statement read by Council President Scott Hente, saying in part: "It is the consensus of the City Council that we will direct the City Attorney not to pursue legal action opposed to the decision of the previous Memorial Health System Board of Trustees. While we find the actions of the Board personally and professionally distasteful and repugnant ... we believe the previous Board of Trustees was operating within their authority. To continue to fight this decision would expose the taxpayers of this community to lengthy and expensive legal action."
According to various reports, McEvoy agreed to the deal on April 19, and when Memorial board chair Jim Moore outlined it to a Council executive session on April 23, there was no immediate objection. A public firestorm soon erupted, and Council asked the MHS board to reconsider. Instead, on April 30, the trustees reaffirmed the deal, and that night, according to a Gazette report, Moore and McEvoy signed it. The next day, Council voted to remove the board, but apparently too late. — RR
Lamborn enjoys trip
As argued in a recent attack ad from the campaign of Robert Blaha, who's looking to oust U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the June 26 primary, part of our congressman's job has been to travel to far-flung locations, eating top-notch dinners and staying at the fanciest hotels, all with his wife by his side. And on someone else's dime.
Example: an eight-day visit to Israel by Doug and Jeanie Lamborn, covered by the American Israel Education Foundation. Total expense: $22,394.72.
"Doug Lamborn's big-dollar globetrotting on the payroll of special interests is illustrative of a Congressman who has been captured by Washington's corrupt culture," Blaha says in a statement.
Not true, says Lamborn's spokeswoman, Catherine Mortensen: "As a member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Lamborn saw first-hand our U.S. dollars invested into our key ally's missile defense system. ... If the congressman were not participating in events like these, he would no doubt be accused of not doing his job." — CH
PCMS funding ban extended
The House Appropriations Committee has renewed a ban on funding expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, the Pueblo Chieftain reports.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., inserted the ban into the 2013 military construction budget, which won the House committee's approval last week. The move means the funding ban is likely to continue for a sixth year.
Tipton doesn't serve on the committee but asked Texas Rep. John Culberson, the panel's chairman, to extend the freeze on funding for expansion. Tipton represents areas of southern Colorado, including Pueblo and Piñon Canyon. — PZ
New city clerk chosen
Mayor Steve Bach has chosen a new city clerk from approximately 100 applicants. City Council was expected to approve the selection of Sarah Johnson on Tuesday afternoon, to replace the retired Kathryn Young.
Johnson, from Kentucky, was selected after a two-month recruiting process. She has 18 years of experience in state elections, and most recently served seven years as executive director for the Kentucky State Board of Elections.
Johnson will be paid a salary of $115,000 annually. — JAS
City pools open May 26
After striking a deal with the city in March, the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region plans to open shuttered city swimming holes on May 26, including those at Cottonwood Creek and Memorial Park recreation centers, plus Prospect Lake Beach, Portal Pool, Wilson Ranch Pool and Monument Valley Pool. The YMCA will not re-open the Valley Hi pool.
Daily pool rates will range from $5 to $9. Two of the pools had been closed since 2009, according to Kim King, city parks administration manager. The city will pay as much as $632,350 a year for the YMCA contract. — JAS
Election deadline nears
Ballots for the June 26 primary begin going out June 4. But in order to vote in the all-mail primary, you must be registered and affiliated with a political party.
While this technically affects Democrats as well as Republicans, in this county only the Republicans have contested seats, including three on the Board of County Commissioners, plus some for the state House and Senate.
Registered voters who want to change affiliation must do so by Friday, May 25. Unregistered voters have until Tuesday, May 29, to register and declare an affiliation. And registered, but unaffiliated, voters may affiliate any time up until primary day, but must do so in person if it's after June 19.
Visit any of the four County Clerk and Recorder offices, or go online at govotecolorado.com. — CH
Campaign donors singled out
Owen Hill wants to talk about Larry Liston's money in the Republican primary battle for state Senate District 10. In a release and online, Hill points out that a fundraising event for his opponent welcomed lobbyists who work for liberal organizations, such as Planned Parenthood and One Colorado.
Hill's camp dubs this attack campaign "30 Pieces of Silver," borrowing from the Bible's ultimate tale of betrayal, the selling out of Jesus Christ. (So, in this situation, Liston is to Judas what the voters are to Christ? Or something?)
Liston responds that, essentially, lobbyist money tends to get around, funding Republicans and Democrats, sometimes in the same race. For example, one liberal lobbyist who works for Planned Parenthood has donated in the past to both rivals in the county's most heated state House primary: Rep. Marsha Looper and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens. — CH
Drilling input approaches
The city may not be able to stop oil and gas drilling, or even control it very much. But there's still an opportunity for residents to exercise some authority over the industry.
As the city develops its response to the apparent boom that's about to hit the Banning Lewis Ranch area, elected officials want the public to weigh in. The city is hosting a public meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 24, at the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada Ave., #102. Public comment may also be sent via springsgov.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oil and Gas Committee is expected to present recommendations to City Council in about a month. The city attorney's office will then write draft regulations for Council's consideration. — JAS
Compiled by Chet Hardin, Ralph Routon, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.