The proposed charter change by Chairman Scott Hente and board member Jan Martin calls for replacing the council with a seven-member independent board that would be elected as early as June. Board members would serve four-year terms and be limited to three consecutive terms. The proposal also calls for a supermajority vote of Colorado Springs voters to sell Utilities or any of its assets.
The Gazette asked the mayor to weigh in on the proposal, and here’s what he said in a statement:
“Scott Hente and Jan Martin stated at the Utility Board meeting today that they will bring to City Council next Tuesday a ballot measure for the April Municipal Election, asking voters to approve a change in governance for Colorado Springs Utilities, our largest and most important owned asset. Mr. Hente and Ms. Martin surprised the other members of the Utility Board and me in making this proposal today at the last minute before the City Council statutory deadline for placing items on the April ballot. They are suggesting that a new 7-member elected Board control CSU in the future. While this idea may be worth debate, the community should complete a thorough discussion of all alternatives before this most important decision is made. This is yet another last minute, piecemeal, proposed change to the City Charter on the eve of Mr. Hente being term limited and leaving City Council. I’m disappointed that Mr. Hente would attempt this power play as he leaves office, and hope the City Council will turn this back next Tuesday and the other piecemeal Charter changes it is entertaining – which represent bad policy and are not in the best interests of our fellow citizens.”