Violating the Charter: Code Enforcement

Suppose you had a dispute of some kind with your neighbor — tree branches overhanging, trash cans left out too long, whatever. Would you want your neighbor to be able to call up your city council member and get them to influence Code Enforcement to take sides against you?

Of course not. We need Code Enforcement officers to remain impartial, not unduly influenced by city politicians, and for exactly that reason, the Englewood city charter does not allow individual council members to direct city employees like code enforcement officers or police.

Ms. Barrentine regularly violates the charter in this way, exercising undue influence on behalf of one citizen against another.

For example:

On 02/23/18 Councilmember Barrentine called the Englewood non-emergency line
to request the assistance of a Code Enforcement Officer in filing a complaint.
Council Member Barrentine and Mr.Walker met code Enforcement on the 3600
Block of S Sherman. A report was generated and pictures were taken with the
Reporting Party listed as Council Member Barrentine.
Each of the registered owners in violation expressed a level of frustration regarding
this complaint. Each property owner pointed to the City as a contributing factor for the violations.

You can read the entire memo here.

Paragraph 32 of the Englewood city charter directly prohibits this.

Powers expressly withheld from Council. Council shall deal with the administrative service solely and directly through the City Manager, and neither the Council, its members nor committee shall either dictate the appointment or direct or interfere with the work of any officer or employee under the City Manager, either publicly or privately. Attempted dictation, direction or interference on the part of any member of the Council shall be deemed misconduct.

Improper Influence: A Finger on the Scales

Ms. Barrentine’s pattern of abusing power and exercising improper influence goes back a long way. According to the article below, when a debt-collection attorney contacted her to collect $320 in bad checks that had been passed at Wal-Mart in 2004, Ms. Barrentine maintained that it was a case of identity theft stemming from her purse being stolen back in 1999 — but refused to provide her signature for comparison to the signature on the bad checks.

Instead, Ms. Barrentine contacted the District Attorney, whom she knew through her Republican Party connections. The DA threatened the debt-collection attorney with investigation if he didn’t drop the matter. In 2006, the D. A. was officially censured for exercising improper influence on Ms. Barrentine’s behalf.  Read the whole article here.

An Unfortunate Necessity

Nobody likes a recall effort. But with Englewood’s future at stake, we have no choice. Our city faces many challenges, and we need council members that operate in good faith and work together to address our city’s needs.

Laurett Barrentine has persistently opposed and obstructed discussion on city budgets, funding for the Fire Department, Meals on Wheels, police station construction, and many other initiatives that are necessary for the long-term health of our city.

Her constant obstruction has already cost us two years. For Englewood’s future, it is necessary to recall Ms. Barrentine now.

This site will go live with supporting documentation and video on Thursday, April 19. Please watch this space for regular updates.