Highlights from the blog and news feed
June 30, 2016
Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of journalists, civic organizations and engaged citizens dedicated to ensuring the transparency of state and local governments in Colorado by promoting freedom of the press, open courts and open access to government records and meetings.
District bills parent $438 to see her son's school records, $129 for copies
Connie Sack was stunned when she received two invoices from the Kennesburg school district after asking to inspect records regarding her 16-year-old son, Logan. The fee for research and retrieval: $438. The fee for copies: $129. Total charges: $567.
Governor signs CCB transparency bill at Rocky Mountain Human Services
Parents and advocates celebrated the signing of SB 16-038 at the Denver-based community-centered board whose financial woes motivated state lawmakers’ efforts to impose transparency measures on the 20 nonprofits that coordinate services for Coloradans with disabilities.
Lawsuit ruling: City of Holyoke did not violate Open Meetings Law
From The Holyoke Enterprise: A district court judge ruled that the city of Holyoke was not in violation of the Colorado Open Meetings Law in three separate instances cited in a lawsuit brought by Rupert and Claire O’Neal.
Basalt resident sued by town after CORA request looks to judge for answers
From The Aspen Times: A Basalt woman who was sued by the town of Basalt after she filed a Colorado Open Records Act request this spring is urging a judge to dig for the “real and truthful reason” the town filed the lawsuit.
Did text message exchange among Littleton councilors violate Open Meetings Law?
From the Littleton Independent: When at-large Littleton City Councilmember Doug Clark introduced a motion to fire Michael Penny at a special council meeting, he said it was due to incompetence and a lack of transparency on the city manager’s part. But others believe it is part of a concerted effort to stop progress in the city, actions that may have included communications that violated open-meetings law.
Loveland council to discuss open-records request in closed-door meeting
From the Reporter-Herald (Loveland): In an ironic discussion about Loveland city councilors holding a special, closed-door meeting to consider a Reporter-Herald Open Records Act request, councilors admitted to having communicated with each other earlier this week via emails marked “private.”
Douglas County school district adds dedicated open-records clerk
From The Complete Colorado: A Douglas County School District Board of Education meeting produced preliminary approval for the 2016-17 budget that includes a new full-time position dedicated to filling Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests, and included feisty exchanges over school choice and the results of an independent investigation into two board members’ treatment of a student.
Eagle County DA delves into Basalt text messages case
From The Aspen Times: The Eagle County district attorney said his office started a preliminary investigation into a resident’s allegation that the Basalt mayor and town clerk violated the Colorado Open Records Act by not saving text messages during the April 5 election campaign.
Mystery surrounds suspension of Denver's top parking enforcer
From CBS4: The Denver Public Works Department has placed its manager of enforcement and meter operations, Dominic Vaiana, on paid investigatory leave with little explanation to employees or the public.
Retention of texts between mayor, clerk at center of Basalt battle
From The Aspen Times: The town of Basalt is creating a policy on retention of texts regarding official business by elected officials and staff as a tempest swirls in some corners over exchanges between the mayor and town clerk during the April 5 election campaign.
From the Reporter-Herald (Loveland): An external survey sought by Loveland City Manager Bill Cahill for his evaluation process has stirred questions and concerns among elected leaders about the process and confidentiality. Those questions and concerns, in email form, have also generated discussion about the laws governing open records and open meetings.
Listen: CFOIC's Roberts discusses open-government legislation on KDNK radio
From KDNK radio (Carbondale): Colorado recently received an “F” for transparency from the Center for Public Integrity. For this week’s News Brief, KDNK’s Gavin Dahl asks Jeff Roberts, veteran journalist and director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, about attempted progress on open records.
Colorado bill will gives employees right to review their personnel files
From The National Law Review: Most employees in Colorado currently have no legal right to review or copy their personnel files. But that is about to change. A bill awaiting signature by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will require private employers to allow employees to inspect and copy their personnel files at least annually upon request.
How to learn something about the Colorado judges you can vote to retain (or not)
From Colorado Public Radio: “Judicial retention” may be the lowest profile part of your Election Day ballot, but Colorado’s third branch of government is hoping to get more voters to participate in this often-overlooked category this year.
Lawsuit: Empire treasurer fired for confronting council over secret deal with dispensary
From The Denver Post: The former treasurer of Empire who was fired after she publicly confronted City Council members about a secret agreement with the town’s only marijuana dispensary owner to defer thousands of dollars in fees has filed a lawsuit against the city in federal court.
Amid growth, Superior trustees grapple with transparency
From Colorado Hometown Weekly: As Superior’s Board of Trustees begins to put in motion plans to transform the town and accommodate the influx of residents, concern regarding transparency and the disclosure of information to the public has risen, including among officials.
Frank: Five ways to improve government transparency in Colorado
From The Denver Post: The dire state of transparency in Colorado government is leading to an inflection point — one that demands a significant remake of the sunshine laws, if not a constitutional fix to ensure the accountability of the government to the people.
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