Plan for appointees gets second try in Castle Pines

Posted

Castle Pines voters in a past election voted against changing the elected positions of treasurer and city clerk to appointed spots, but the matter is returning to the ballot in November.

Castle Pines City Council at its July 9 meeting voted to approve November ballot questions asking voters to consider those changes again.

The vote was 4-1, with Councilmember James Einolf voting no. Councilmember Marc Towne was absent.

“Don't be fooled by the argument that these positions require special knowledge or experience,” Einolf, the lone dissenter, stated in an email after the meeting. “We employ a deputy city clerk and a deputy city treasurer who have the necessary training. Quite frankly, if someone who was elected to either one of these positions never even bothered to show up for meetings, it would have no effect on the running of the city.”

Council Member Kim Maxwell, who supports the change, said in an interview that if voters approve the creation of appointed positions there wouldn't be a deputy city clerk or treasurer any longer.

She said instead of an unpaid elected treasurer and city clerk, and two paid deputies, a total of four people, there would be just two appointees who would do the deputies' jobs. And Mayor Jeff Huff said in a recent interview there would be “robust” oversight for those two positions by the council, town manager and auditors, and it's an attempt to “streamline” city operations.

The council's reasons for the asked-for changes include the fact that a majority of Denver metropolitan municipalities are structured that way, with appointed, not elected, city clerks and treasurers, according to the explanation in Castle Pines Council's Resolution No. 13019.

Other reasons in the resolution: There is concern about adequate qualifications of elected officials and about vacancies. The city clerk position has had three vacancies because of resignations.

For the treasurer's position, the council's reasons include a claim that “the complexity of municipal finance issues” should be managed by someone with “the requisite experience and education.”

The current interim city clerk, Jaime Edwards, who has served since former city clerk Dan Schatz resigned in November, has indicated she would like to fill the council seat recently left by John Ewing — who resigned because he was moving out of Castle Pines.

The current treasurer, Mark Shively — a former president and treasurer of the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District — is up for re-election, but hasn't decided whether to run again.

However, he said in a July 10 interview that based on the last election's results, with about three-quarters voting for these positions to remain elected positions, “I think the citizens want to have an elected treasurer … question asked, question answered.”

Shively said it's “the citizens' city,” not the council's city and not the treasurer's, so “You better listen to them.”