Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 12, 20184min1395

Pueblo is going to elect a mayor this year for the first time since the 1950s, and six candidates are already in the running. But as the hopefuls polish their stump speeches and set up their campaign committees, City Hall also has plenty on its plate to prepare for the new full-time “strong mayor,” who will replace the city manager.

The Pueblo Chieftain’s Ryan Severance has been keeping a laundry list of tasks the City Council must attend to, and job No. 1 is studying Colorado Springs just up I-25 from the Steel City. Springs voters changed their city’s charter in 2010 to usher in a strong mayor of their own, offering Pueblo a template:

In preparation for the transition, the city has studied things the city of Colorado Springs did and experienced when it went to a mayoral form of government.

Among those things:

Language in the city charter mandates that the city attorney represent the mayor. Since a system of checks and balances will exist between City Council and the mayor, there could be occasions when the mayor’s attorney and council’s attorney will have to consult separately with their respective clients. …

… In Colorado Springs, the mayor and council have separate attorneys representing them.

There’s also the matter of picking a deputy mayor, who among other duties would take the helm if the mayor steps down:

At council’s annual retreat on Saturday, some council members expressed concern that the charter limits the options as to who can be designated as deputy mayor. …

… The charter states that the mayor must designate one of the city’s department directors to be deputy mayor.

Currently, there are 18 city departments. Two or more departments may be headed by the same person, and some are. The charter is specific in saying that the deputy mayor must head one or more departments.

There is wording in the charter, though, that other departments may be established by ordinance upon the recommendation of the mayor. So if the mayor wanted to name someone deputy mayor who isn’t a current department head or someone who was appointed as director of an existing department, the mayor could, with the approval of City Council, create a department, appoint them director of that department and be within the scope of the charter by designating them deputy mayor.

Bet you didn’t think about that, eh? So many decisions.

Pueblo voters will pick their new mayor in next November’s general election — unless a second, runoff election is necessary. The mechanics of that process haven’t yet been decided by the City Council; it’s a work in progress. So, put that on the list, too.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 21, 20182min534

… OK, one of them is more like a smooth move: luring the 2020 National Association of Secretaries of State summer conference to Colorado. Specifically, to Williams’s hometown, Colorado Springs (at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, to be exact).

A press release from Williams’s office elaborated on his efforts to bring the July happening (specific dates TBA) to the Pikes Peak region:

In pushing for Colorado Springs’ selection, Secretary Williams touted its natural wonders, including Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. He also pointed to its man-made attractions, such as the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel and U.S. Olympic Museum.

Now for the other honor — here’s another announcement from Williams’s office:

For the fourth time in five years, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office has been named a finalist for an award that recognizes innovation, excellence and achievement in public programs.

Colorado’s entry this year involves the office’s efforts concerning cybersecurity, the topic that dominated the National Association of Secretaries of State’s winter conference, which ended Monday in Washington, D.C.

The association announced this week that Colorado along with California, Indiana and Wyoming are the finalists for this year’s IDEAS innovation award. Said Williams:

“I’m honored that our peers recognize Colorado’s leadership on cybersecurity … Our staff leads the nation in election security innovation. We have found secure ways to make it easy to vote — even for deployed military in the most remote places — while also making it difficult to cheat. It’s not a simple fix. Rather, we’ve delivered a comprehensive suite of solutions that have garnered national attention and praise.”

Williams is on the association’s executive committee and met last week in Washington with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen.


Conrad SwansonConrad SwansonFebruary 3, 20185min301
When he was first elected, Colorado Springs was behind the curve, trailing more innovative cities like Boulder and Collins, Gov. John Hickenlooper recalled. Now, when he travels the state, Hickenlooper said Colorado Springs is the city he uses as an example of Colorado’s robust economy. “For the last two years, I go to other cities […]

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