A note from a concerned citizen:
If you watch just the last 30 minutes of the 8/13 city council meeting, you will see District 3 councilwoman Laurett Barrentine say on two separate occasions that she’s asked more than once for information or for a meeting topic to be added to the Council agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen, Barrentine is the proverbial middle child of the Englewood City Council. Sure, her agenda is often disregarded. Sure, she seldom gets the attention she wants from her peers or from staff. But damn, she’s annoying. She clearly has a chip on her shoulder, and no one wants to work with someone who behaves like she does.
Frequent filibustering. Breathy declarations that her requests are going unanswered. Long explanations on how discussions should take place in public when public discussions have already taken place and the information is documented in the public record. Let’s revisit that issue because I’ve got “some constituents” asking about it, she says.
Barrentine’s influence in Englewood is destructive. She appeals to a crowd of folks who wear their suspicion of and disdain for municipal government on their collective sleeves. It’s OK to be suspicious. It’s not OK to defend your suspicions in the face of facts that disprove those suspicions.
The job of Council is not to micromanage the city. Council pays a city manager to manage the city. Council hires and fires the city manager and city attorney. Council approves large contracts (referred from staff) and sets policy. Council approves the budget and passes ordinances into the municipal code. Council DOES NOT manage city staff (except their Manager and Attorney).
I’m all for a prepared Council. I’m all for elected officials who understand what’s happening in the city. But I stand against elected officials who use the consent process to grandstand and draw attention to themselves. I take a firm stand against the philosophy that leads someone to look under every rock for a conspiracy while her peers wait longer and longer to get the People’s business done. Serving on city council is an opportunity to amplify your voice in your community. Use it to serve the community, not just yourself. Use it to prevent the mistakes of the past from repeating, not to avenge them.
One final note: practice what you preach. When communicating with constituents or city officials, use your official city email, not a personal email account. Honor the spirit and the letter of the Colorado Open Records Act or admit that when it comes to the subject of government transparency, you are a hypocrite.