On the heels of Castle Rock voters' decision to change the charter to allow for an at-large mayor system, town attorney Bob Slentz outlined some of the challenges of changing the document, and cautioned council members and residents that it was …
On the heels of Castle Rock voters' decision to change the charter to allow for an at-large mayor system, town attorney Bob Slentz outlined some of the challenges of changing the document, and cautioned council members and residents that it was important to get it right the first time.
“If we do not have a transition plan approved by the community and council, this will be a very significant issue a year from now,” Slentz said.
Nearly two dozen people attended a special public hearing Nov. 14 at Castle Rock Town Hall, to discuss how the town will proceed with changes to the charter. Voters decided in the Nov. 7 election that they wanted a mayor-at-large system— meaning they will now vote for the mayor rather than the official being appointed by town council members.
Questions for council to consider include outlining mayor qualifications, as well as wording and legalities that go along with changing the charter. For instance, there is nothing in the charter that specifies when a mayor would be elected. That needs to be addressed and in writing, according to Slentz. Mayor qualifications also need to be outlined with the new system. Redistricting from seven down to six districts also needs to happen.
Making any changes to the charter must be taken seriously, according to Town Manager David Corliss.
“We live in a litigious society,” he said. “Some people will leave here happy, some won't be happy. We have to do this legally.”
Councilmembers discussed creating an ad hoc citizen charter committee to present ideas for a smooth transition and holding a special election in the spring of 2018.
Some residents who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting expressed frustration at delaying the changes while council members gather more information.
“I feel like we're hitting a very slow wall of dominoes,” said resident Mary Wilson, who was also a petitioner who gathered hundreds of signature in support of changing the charter. “We're prolonging what voters want. We voted and we want to have an at-large-mayor and we want you to implement it.”
The issue will be placed on the Dec. 5 council agenda, with a resolution on how a citizen commission will be formed.