EDITORIAL – IT’S COUNCIL AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TO CREATE POLICY FOR PUEBLO NOT THE CITY ATTORNEY, CLERK AND NOT THE DA

City Hall Pueblo CO
By Jenny Paulson / Southern Colorado Independent Magazine
Our Charter, the blue print on how our city is to run, must be followed by law. However officials for the City of Pueblo have been in the habit of disregarding the Charter with no consequences for their violations for many years. Our founding fathers set up our City to have a strong City Manager form of government, it’s why we have no mayor. They made it extremely clear – it is Council that is to be the legislative body while the People have the ultimate power in Pueblo. At issue right now is that a District Attorney, City Clerk and the City Attorney for Pueblo are writing legislation, trying to bluff City Council, and we need to stop and ask “who is really running our town?” Here are the basics of what’s going on as we see it, noting that Pueblo is in more political trouble then the City is letting on. 
 
City Hall Pueblo CO

1. From our Charter is how our City Manager is to be selected in quotes: “The City Manager is to be chosen by the Council on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications, with special reference to his experience in and knowledge of city manager work.” The current City Manager Sam Azad’s background is in accounting, he is highly criticized for lack of people skills and he was promoted from within as was the former City Manager Jerry Pacheco who was fired for misconduct and favoritism. The good old boy system has caused such resentment that the union police officers as one example just gave the City Manager an over 98% vote of no confidence and frankly they appear to be right, we have seen the magazine disregard his own people, department heads, refuse to communicate with alternative media or anyone who dares to question him. We are the only ones he doesn’t return calls to.

 
2. And direct from our Charter founders “Careful provision has been made for the right of the people to amend their Charter at any time to meet changed conditions or needs. These provisions for initiative, referendum and recall provide the means by which the people can control the policy of their city government at all times, enact or reject legislation as they see fit, and rid themselves of an elected official who fails to perform his duty properly, or who insists upon adhering to a policy of which they do not approve.” It’s clear here that the writers of our Charter wanted the people to have the right to amend the Charter at any time. Our charter is outmoded it’s from 1954 and the current City Attorney Dan Kokosvek and City Clerk Gina Dutcher plus the previous City Attorney have only hacked our Charter through the years using multi item ballet initiatives the town didn’t likely understand while voting and the local media didn’t expose, limiting the rights of citizens, now they are voting on Mon Jan 25th on yet a further ordinance to block citizens. But our Charter makes it clear that THE PEOLE CONTROL THE POLICY OF THEIR CITY – NOT THEM. Anyone one Council who votes for this unconstitutional ordinance the City Manager drummed up, using Colorado Springs as an example, a city that has a mayor, might be subject to recall. Pueblo Reform is filing a complaint with the state ethics commission for the totally unethical behavior of the Clerk and City Attorney who willfully continue to violate the Charter and state laws.
 
3. Furthermore as quoted in our Charter “the policy-determining body or overall governing agency of the City will be the City Council elected by the people. The Council will have power to pass ordinances, determine all matters of policy and appoint a City Manager. The Council will then hold the Manager responsible for the proper execution of its policies and the effective administration of the City’s departments, agencies and services. If the Manager does not perform those tasks properly, he may be removed immediately by the Council.”
 
4. The biggest issue with our out dated 1954 Charter is this quote which we will try to amend with the voters as soon as possible: “Council Not to Interfere in Appointments or Removals – Except for the purpose of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service solely through the City Manager and neither the Council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the City Manager either publicly or privately.” Our Charter was standard in the day for thousands of communities in the US, many had this cause in and most progressive cities have gotten it removed by now and have adjusted their Charters to give Council more authority, at least to approve and disapprove perhaps of the Police Chief, usually the most political of all department heads at any City. The Chief just had 95% of officers say they would give him a vote of no confidence, they say morale is at an all time low. The problem is that under our current Charter, only the City Manager can hire and fire the chief. And Council is “not to interfere.” Thus the reason we are studying changes to the Charter of Pueblo in the light of such disfunction at the City.
 
In summary, it is Council or the People and absolutely NOT the City Attorney and even more so NOT a District Attorney that are to be making policies for our community. Should the City Manager NOT fulfill his duties, as the current manager is not, then he is to be fired and replaced immediately. It’s clear that the City is in a great state of disfunction, and issues are being blow off as minor with the mainstream media covering for the City, and that Council is going to have to step up and hold the Azad accountable rather then give “Sam Azad Day” as the outgoing Council did at their final session in 2015. We have asked that the Union survey be duplicated and given to all City employees because of the extreme lack of respect for his leadership that we think isn’t just coming from police officers but from the entire city and many in the community in the know. We look forward to hearing what the Chief has to say at the next January 25th meeting starting at 7 pm and what citizens have to say in the six, five minute spots that are televised on the subject matter. The alternative magazine being launched this month Southern Colorado Independent Magazine will be watch dogging and reporting back to you, the people.
Jenny Paulson is the publisher and editor of the new Southern Colorado Independent Magazine, launched online in January of 2016 to be the voice of the people. Paulson owned an alternative monthly in Northwest Colorado from 1994-2002 called Frontier Magazine and owned other niche magazines for twenty years. She also worked earlyon in her career in politics, for a top Denver lobbyist, the governor, for political campaigns and in Washington DC. Her writing and research skills have contributed to research on the Charter of Pueblo and proposed initiatives for accountability and more citizen involvement in local government.

Southern Colorado Independent Magazine publisher Jenny Paulson is a 20 year veteran niche magazine publisher, an independent journalist, photographer, publisher, blogger, activist, world traveler and a proud mom. She has worked as a political activist, for a lobbyist, a pr firm, the governor and for a representative in Washington DC. She has lived in her home of Pueblo, CO ten years.

About Jenny Paulson 88 Articles

Southern Colorado Independent Magazine publisher Jenny Paulson is a 20 year veteran niche magazine publisher, an independent journalist, photographer, publisher, blogger, activist, world traveler and a proud mom. She has worked as a political activist, for a lobbyist, a pr firm, the governor and for a representative in Washington DC. She has lived in her home of Pueblo, CO ten years.