Highlights from the blog and news feed
Sept. 10, 2015
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.
Federal appeals court asked to suppress name of Oklahoma execution doctor
The federal appeals court in Denver has been asked to decide a First Amendment question involving the botched Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett and the doctor who oversaw the injection of legal drugs into the convicted killer in 2014.
State advisory panel on local gaming ignored the Sunshine Law, audit finds
A state advisory committee that helps award grants for addressing the impact of local gaming in Colorado has disregarded the Sunshine Law by failing to document its meetings and activities, a new state audit says.
State-appointed panel begins to examine police body-worn camera issues
A newly appointed state task force began work on a host of issues surrounding the use of body-worn cameras by police officers. Some important considerations concern public records: How long should body camera videos be retained and at what cost? What determines whether a video can be released to the public? Should portions of a video be blurred before the public sees it?
Colo. Spgs. police won't say how officer was disciplined for using force on teenager
From the Colorado Springs Independent: The public is being denied information about Officer Tyler Walker’s punishment for slamming a handcuffed teenager onto the floor and breaking one of her teeth in November 2013.
Denver police release draft body camera policy for public comment
From The Denver Post: Denver police released their draft body camera policy for public comment as the department works to finalize how they will use the devices when they are introduced throughout the force.
Recording probe finds Grand Junction councilors blameless
From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): Grand Junction’s city councilors have been cleared in an investigation by the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office in relation to the circumstances surrounding a June 20 executive session meeting that was not recorded.
School board's emails spur concern over possible open meetings law violation
From the Citizen Telegram (Rifle): The falling out between the Garfield Re-2 school board and its former superintendent, Susan Birdsey, spurred several firsts for the veteran board. Specifically, it was the first time in the past eight years that the board has been questioned on potentially violating the state’s open meetings law, said Board President Chris Pearson.
Editorial: City needs to stop stonewalling on records request
From Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): It’s been more than seven weeks since Steamboat Pilot & Today reporter Matt Stensland filed a Colorado Open Records Act request for Reports 3 to 5 from the city of Steamboat Springs’ investigation into allegations of police department misconduct.
Denver officials' gift disclosures require little detail about giving
From The Denver Post: Denver disclosure filings for 2014 are inconsistent or at times even scant on details, making it difficult to see a full picture of gift-giving in city government. In part, that’s because the form asks for so little information.
Six weeks after records request, councilman sees 'pattern of avoidance'
From Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): More than six weeks after a records request, interim Steamboat Springs Police Chief Jerry DeLong still has not decided whether to release three reports related to an independent police department investigation that led to the resignations of the department’s two leaders.
Congressman lambastes EPA for not providing Colorado mine spill documents
From The Denver Post: The Texas representative who chairs the Congressional Science, Space, and Technology Committee lambasted the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief for failing to hastily release documents linked to the Gold King Mine spill.
Details of 'lavish' contract for pension program chief held under wraps
FromThe Gazette (Colorado Springs): Details of a proposed new compensation package for the head of Colorado’s employee pension program won’t be made public until after the board votes on the new salary and benefits, but one source close to the contract says it’s “lavish.”
Data make it tough to say whether nonprofit hospitals are meeting community obligations
From Health Elevations (Colorado Health Foundation): More information is available to the public than ever before about how nonprofit hospitals are meeting their obligations to the communities surrounding them. Unfortunately, you need the digging skills of an investigative journalist, the know-how of a statistician and a background in hospital management to make heads or tails of that data.
AG's private-meeting invitation irks some SW Colorado public officials
From The Colorado Independent: Some S.W. Colorado public officials are blasting AG Cynthia Coffman for ignoring Colorado’s open meetings law. As the state’s top law enforcement official, they say, she should have known better than to try to gather them together in a closed meeting.
Log-ins from Ashley Madison hack include Colorado state, city and school district email addresses
From 7NEWS (Denver): When you use the Ashley Madison website to cheat on your spouse, that’s your business, but when the logins are based on city, state and school district email addresses, it becomes our business.
D.A. and Pitkin County sheriff at odds over release of public records
From Aspen Public Radio: D.A. Sherry Caloia has ordered sheriff Joe DiSalvo to stop releasing records, including police reports. She wrote in an August 5th email that if DiSalvo puts the DA’s office or any of its cases in jeopardy she will take action and “not be nice about it.” Caloia also even insinuated the sheriff’’s office and the county government could be sued for slander.
Editorial: Take a stand for openness, transparency
From Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): Faced with a series of important decisions to make, we urge the city council to ensure they tackle those next-step decisions as openly and transparently as possible. We think this suggestion is necessary in light of this newspaper’s contention that the council conducted public business improperly during a recent executive session.
From The Denver Post: In Colorado, a public employee’s salary is public information — that simple fact should be enough to convince any government agency to release salary information if asked. Yet, that was not the case in Adams County School District 50 in Westminster, which has long been touted as the district with the highest base salaries for teachers in the metro area.
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