A Denver Decides Ballot Issue Forum in anticipation of the general election coming up on Tuesday, November 3rd. Ballot Measure 2C reads: Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to give City Council the authority to procure for professional services without executive branch approval? Speaking in favor of Ballot Measure 2C is Deborah “Debbie” Ortega, At-Large member of Denver City Council. The person set to speak against Ballot Measure 2C chose not to participate.
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Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to give City Council the authority to procure for professional services without executive branch approval?
¿Se deberían enmendar los Estatutos de la Ciudad y el Condado de Denver para otorgar al ayuntamiento la autoridad para contratar servicios profesionales sin la aprobación del poder ejecutivo?
This measure amends the Charter of the City and County of Denver to provide city council with authority to procure professional services without executive branch approval. This amendment clarifies city council can procure professional services necessary to fulfill their charter duties. It codifies the practice of city council in procuring the assistance of independent professionals (engineers, attorneys, financial analysts, etc.) to carry out its duties.
The measure is needed because the Denver Charter currently is silent on city council’s ability to hire staff or professional services. This amendment explicitly provides city council authority to obtain independent professional services to fulfill its duties without approval by the administration. City council no longer will be reliant on the good will of a city attorney appointed by the mayor or upon the mayor to engage staff support to do their job.
Issues coming before city council are increasingly complex and council often is required to act quickly. Council is required to review and approve complex contracts and projects. In recent years the city attorney and mayor blocked council members from hiring professionals to review the DEN Great Hall contract. In addition, city council may need independent legal and investigatory expertise to exercise council investigative and subpoena powers.
When considering the council’s response to sexual harassment complaints against the mayor it was not clear that council could hire outside legal expertise or enter into a contract with investigators or other professionals to assist in developing its response. City Council was put in the position of relying for guidance on the Office of the City Attorney, which reports to the mayor. This places the city attorney in the position of advising entities with conflicting interests.
Passage of this measure will not interfere with or create confusion about who represents the City in legal matters. It does not alter Charter provisions stating that the Department of Law is responsible for representing the City in legal matters.
This measure simply recognizes there are instances when City Council must engage experts to fulfillment of its Charter responsibilities independent of the mayor
No comments were filed by the deadline.