‘Strong mayor’ group releases proposed city charter
The next Colorado Springs mayor would be able to appoint key members of his administration and earn a salary of nearly $100,000 under a proposed city charter released today by Citizens for Accountable Leadership.
Supporters of the change to a “strong mayor” system plan to collect about 24,000 signatures during the next few months to place the charter amendment on the November ballot, said spokesman Kevin Walker.
The draft calls for the mayor to be a full-time city employee and to receive a salary equal to 110 percent of an El Paso county commissioner’s pay, about $98,300a year. Council members would continue to receive a $6,250 annual stipend.
“I haven’t seen the specific changes, so I can’t comment,” mayoral candidate Tim Leigh said. “But with so many changes, the challenge they’ll have is in marketing. It’ll be hard to sell so many things at once.”
It’s not clear whether the city’s single-subject ordinance, which restricts proposed changes in the city charter to a single topic, would permit all changes to be made under a single initiative.
The complete draft of the charter can be found at springsaccountabilitynow.org.
Here’s a synopsis:
- An elected mayor becomes the chief executive of the city replacing the city manager
- The mayor is no longer a member of the city council, an at-large councilmember is elected to replace the mayor and council remains at nine members
- Council becomes the legislative branch of the City with checks and balances; elects a President of Council.
- Mayor is elected by majority with runoff election of top two, if required mayor takes office six weeks following the April election
- Appointments of auditor, clerk, treasurer, Memorial Hospital board and CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities remain with council
- Mayor appoints and council approves the city attorney, CFO, fire chief and police chief by simple majority
- Mayor retains appointments of department heads and must appoint a chief of staff
- Succession in case of incapacity of the mayor is the president of council until the next special or general election
- Council is required to adopt by ordinance proper personnel, procurement and contracting procedures for those operations of the city
- Mayor may veto ordinances with the exception of quasi-judicial (land use) and other specified ordinances
- Council may override veto with a two-thirds vote
- Mayor is responsible for submittal of budget by early October, council approves a budget, Mayor has line item veto and Council may override with two-thirds vote
- Mayor becomes a non-voting, ex officio member of the utilities board
- Mayor will be paid a salary that is 110 percent of El Paso County Commissioners’ salary
- Mayor to be full time and not have any other employment
- Form of government is instituted upon the mayor assuming authority