Sunday, September 4, 2011

Concern over Commerce City Council procedure, city says all is okay.

The Gateway has received a phone call this week from a citizen that was watching city council last Monday evening during the discussion and vote on the ordinance that is placing the issues on this November ballot.

Their question is two fold. First they want to know if the ordinance is valid as the amendment to the ordinance was never voted on Monday night, only the actual ordinance was voted on. The ordinance was regarding making the position of mayor separate from a position of council member, and the amendment was to limit total terms to 16 years. The second part of their question is “Did the character of the ordinance change from first to second reading?” Is that still ok to change an ordinance when it is at second reading?

They thought that the ordinance was to make this a separate position for mayor and now it seems to them that it is about creating term limits as well with a 16 year limit.

Response from Commerce City:
"The amended ordinance (which was read as revised by the city attorney prior to the vote) was approved by city council 7-1. To the first question: while it would have been cleaner to have a formal motion to amend, there is no legal requirement that such action be taken for the change to be valid.

Second, the city charter allows revisions between 1st and 2nd reading as long as they don't change the general purpose of the ordinance. Since only one aspect of the four-question ordinance was modified during second reading, a review by the city attorney indicates the revision was consistent with the charter and did not change the general purpose of the overall ordinance."

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