City Councilor Tim Leigh is at it again – dropping bombshells via email.
This time, Leigh wants the entire board of directors for the Colorado Springs Utilities, essentially City Council members in a different role – to step down. He wants to suspend the current board and have Mayor Steve Bach appoint an interim board “of local folks, with broader, more applicable expertise.”
Leigh said he hopes that the board will discuss his proposal at the Utilities board meeting that starts at 1 p.m. today in the board room at Plaza of the Rockies.
“That is why I brought it up,” he said. “I think the City Council is too busy doing that job to serve effectively as the Utilities board.”
The problem with Leigh’s proposal?
“There’s a little thing called the city charter that stands in the way of that,” said City Council President Pro Tempore Jan Martin. “It clearly states that the City Council will sit as the Utilities board. Changing that will require a vote of the people.”
Leigh said in the email that questions about the Neumann Systems Group’s contract for a coal scrubber led to his conclusion that the current board simply wasn’t qualified to handle CSU’s governance.
“As I read the contract, it occurred to me that since I’m not an engineer, and have no previous experience negotiating contracts worth between $125,000,000 and $250,000,000, and being honest with myself and the citizens, I concluded that he community would most likely be better served to appoint more credential folks to the board.”
Further, he said that his inexperience in the NSG matter was merely “the tip of an iceburg … that the CSU Board of Directors is not currently able to direct or supervise its operations.”
To solve the problem, he wants the mayor’s office to lead the search for interim board replacements, all of whom would need approval by City Council, under Leigh’s plan.
The new interim board would perform a strategic review of operations, hire and supervise a consultant to determine the value of the system and review the current mode of governance with a recommendation for changes.
“I believe the City Council, acting as the board of directors, has neither the time, nor the expertise to properly field these questions legitimately,” he said. “It’s time for change.”
But Martin doesn’t think now is quite the time.
“I think Tim is getting a little ahead of himself,” she said. “There has to be a vote of the people to change the charter. We’ll have that conversation about governance. But when I was reading it (the email) I was thinking about all the things that we deal with on City Council. I don’t have to be a builder to deal with the city’s building code; I don’t have to be a doctor to make decisions about the hospital. I am sorry Tim feels unqualified.”