City attorney selection process in Broomfield raises open meetings law questions

Broomfield Enterprise: Before Broomfield City Council voted to move forward with negotiations with Shaun Sullivan as Broomfield’s new city and county attorney, Ward 2 Councilwoman Sharon Tessier suggested including a public forum as part of the process.

Sullivan has not been officially hired, as job-specific negotiations still are underway between him and city officials. He was one of two finalists for the job. The second one has not been named at her request because of concerns regarding her current employment.

At the Dec. 5 study session where the attorney hiring process was discussed, the idea of a public process and public forum didn’t gain much traction. However, at the March 20 council meeting where the vote to move forward with Sullivan was taken, there were multiple calls to start the process over and involve the public in an interactive process.

On the day of the March 20 vote, watchdog group The Broomfield Way claimed in a letter that the selection process violated the Colorado Sunshine Law.

“Council obviously moved to hire Mr. Sullivan outside of a public meeting and seeks to rubber stamp that decision at tonight’s council meeting,” wrote David Milender, a representative of The Broomfield Way. “Holding a subsequent rubber stamp vote at a public meeting does not rectify the harm committed by denying the public the opportunity to participate in the earlier decision-making process, and the rubber stamp decision can likewise be declared invalid by the courts.”

Both Mayor Randy Ahrens and Mayor Pro Tem Bette Erickson declined to comment at this time.

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