Violating the Charter: Council Walkout

The Englewood city charter requires that council members present vote on all ordinances, resolutions and motions:

Article 5-37 –¬†Every member, when present, must vote upon ordinances, resolutions and motions, except he shall be excused from voting on matters involving the consideration of his own official conduct or when his personal or financial interest is involved.

In violation of this provision of the charter, three council members, including Ms. Barrentine, refused to vote on a motion to reconsider council management and walked out of the January 17, 2017 meeting.

Needless to say, denying council quorum does not constitute a legal means to shut down a vote. In fact, according to charter provision 1-5-2-4, under such circumstances, council has the power to “compel the attendance of absent members.”

Here’s an excerpt from the Englewood Herald describing the situation:

The Jan. 17 Englewood City Council meeting ended abruptly when three members left the meeting because they refused to vote on a proposal that could have resulted in the immediate election of a new mayor and mayor pro tem….

There were some heated exchanges and, when a vote was called on the proposal, at-large Councilmember Rita Russell walked out, as did Jefferson and District 3 Councilmember Laurett Barrentine, meaning no formal action could be taken due to lack of a quorum. Gillit then adjourned the meeting.

Read the full article here.

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.