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City of Boulder 2P Ballot Question Charter Provision Allowing Exec Sessions for Municipalization

Shall Section 9 of the Charter be amended pursuant to Ordinance 8202 to: (1) amend the requirements for notices of executive sessions regarding legal advice and negotiation strategy regarding municipalization to align processes more closely with state law; (2) prohibit any discussions about negotiating a franchise or other settlement discussions that would terminate Boulder's effort to operate an independent municipal electric utility; and (3) extend the authority to hold executive sessions until December 31, 2023?Yes__ No__Major Provisions:This measure would extend the authority to hold executive sessions concerning legal advice and negotiation strategy, for municipalization, from 2018 through 2023. It limits discussions during these sessions, to efforts to operate an independent utility and prohibits discussion of any settlement options, which could terminate such an effort. It would also amend the requirements for notices of these sessions to align more closely with state law.Background:In 2014 voters gave City Council authority to conduct executive sessions in private, to discuss legal strategy regarding municipalization, through 2017. Decisions cannot be made during executive sessions; they must be made in public meetings. Efforts to continue pursuit of municipalization are expected to involve further legal strategy.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Yes - For the Measure

  • No - Against the Measure

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Arguments

Those IN FAVOR Say: 1. Executive sessions on the complicated topic of municipalization allow Council Members the benefit of hearing each other’s questions of City staff, and the staff responses on legal issues. Having such sessions in public gives away legal strategy to those who might oppose in court, the City’s efforts to form a public electric utility.

2. Executive sessions are far more efficient use of staff and Council time than alternatives modes of communication (confidential memos, meetings of 1 or 2 Council Members with staff).

3. Since Council cannot make decisions in executive session, only be given advice on legal strategies, there is no risk that a snap decision could be made out of the public view.
Those OPPOSED Say: 1. Many residents oppose all executive sessions on the principle that full transparency is best for all Council discussions.

2. There will be no need for this authority if the City is no longer pursuing the development of a local electric utility. Thus, any voter who opposes municipalization will find this extension of authority unnecessary and a NO vote would be consistent with opposition to municipalization.

3. 2P extends the authority for executive sessions but also prohibits the Council from “…any discussion about negotiating a franchise or other settlement discussions that would terminate Boulder’s effort to operate an independent municipal electric utility;….”. If municipalization were to continue, this extension of authority would take flexibility away from the Council and make any attempts at a settlement more difficult to achieve. Because 2P is structured to support only one outcome, municipalization, it is less useful than the original grant of executive session authority.

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