Mayor Lionel Rivera accused three mayoral and two City Council candidates of using a “cheap political stunt” when they asked the Secretary of State’s Office to send an observer to monitor the April 5 election.
“It’s unfortunate these candidates are using a cheap political stunt to drum up media coverage for themselves one day before ballots are to be mailed out to voters,” Rivera said today in a letter to Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
“I have no personal investment in this election as I am not a candidate for mayor, being term-limited,” he wrote.
“I do, however, have a significant interest in protecting the professional character of Kathy Young, city clerk, and assuring our citizens we will have fair elections that meet the requirements of our charter and state law.”
Rivera also defends Young in the letter.
“Since being elected to the Colorado Springs City Council in 1997 through my re-election to mayor in 2007 and our last municipal election in 2009, I have participated in or observed seven municipal elections conducted by our City Clerk Kathryn Young,” the mayor wrote.
“Without fail, each election was conducted objectively, unbiased, fair, honest, with complete transparency and in accordance with state law.”
In an interview this morning, Young said she welcomed an observer from the Secretary of State’s Office.
“I don’t have anything to hide,” she said. “The process is open, so I welcome it.”
Mayoral candidates Brian Bahr, Tom Gallagher and Buddy Gilmore and council candidates Lisa Czelatdko and Angela Dougan sent a letter Monday asking Gessler to dispatch an observer to Colorado Springs to monitor the election.
“In the last several months, there have been ongoing concerns regarding Colorado Springs City Clerk Kathryn Young and her office,” they wrote in the letter.
“We now lack confidence that the upcoming Municipal Election will be conducted in a fair and unbiased manner. We are asking your office to step in, observe, and ensure a honest and transparent election process,” they said.
The five also raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest.
“Due to the passage of the Strong Mayor city charter amendment in November, 2010, Ms. Young, for the first time, will be directly affected by the outcome of this election,” the letter states. “Can she be an unbiased, objective election official given these circumstances?”
Rivera said Young, a council appointee, has been affected by recent elections because “either four or up to seven of her nine bosses were elected to office.”
The election of the city’s first strong mayor “has no bearing on how she will conduct” the April election, Rivera wrote.
“She is a professional and will uphold the standards of her office demanded of her in our City Charter and state law,” he wrote.