It had seemed so simple. “Do you want to directly elect your mayor?” Castle Rock voters were more or less asked in the Nov. 7 election.
Overwhelmingly, they said yes. All that was left was for the city council — of which current Mayor Jennifer Green is just another member chosen by council colleagues to wield the gavel — to work out the details of letting voters city-wide elect the next mayor.
If only. The Devil’s always in the details — and he has been putting in overtime in Castle Rock since last month’s balloting. Reports Complete Colorado’s Sherrie Peif:
Despite voters in Castle Rock overwhelmingly passing a proposition to elect their mayor from an at-large population, they are likely to have to vote again on the topic, and it could be up to three years before their wishes are implemented.
The passage of Proposition 300, with 67 percent of the vote, clears the way for the residents of Castle Rock to elect their mayor, but it has created complications that essentially put the town out of compliance with its charter.
And that has led to divisions in the current council, reflecting factions in the community. Some want the transition to proceed apace, with a follow-up election as soon as next year, while others seem to want to go slower in order to get it right. Skeptics accuse them of foot-dragging, but those arguing for the more deliberative approach contend the ballot issue was sold simplistically in the first place, with too little focus on how, legally, to get from Point A to Point B.
… the problem now is a council divided on how to incorporate the voters’ wishes and with two members continually absent.
That’s right; two of the council members seem to be MIA, and fellow council member George Teal, who supported the ballot initiative to direct-elect a mayor, smells a rat:
Teal said the biggest push back is still coming from the mayor, who he said won’t return his requests to talk. That is compounded by two members — Brett Ford, who represents District 7, and Jess Loban, who represents District 1, both of whom did not support electing the mayor and have failed to show up for meetings since the election.
(Mayor) Green would not discuss her opinion with Complete Colorado either. She only referred to the Nov. 14 meeting where she said she voted to refer the issue to a citizen committee.
It’s a convoluted saga that’s still unfolding; be sure to read Peif’s full story as she does a good job untangling the knots. Perhaps things also will become clearer tonight, when the council is scheduled to take up the issue again.