Basalt mayor violates open meetings law, town manager says

From The Aspen Times: Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt violated the Colorado Open Meetings Law last week by sending an email to other council members that criticized the town staff for its handling of a land-use review application, according to Town Manager Mike Scanlon.

Whitsitt emailed Scanlon and Town Planner Susan Philp with complaints that the staff hadn’t thoroughly vetted issues such as traffic and sales tax revenue sharing for the council’s review of the Willits Town Center proposal by the council Dec. 8. She copied five of six council members on the email.

Scanlon said the staff recognized the email was “wrong” because conservations, including emails, between the majority of council members must be conducted in public. He contacted Town Attorney Tom Smith, who confirmed the email was a violation and informed Whitsitt that she shouldn’t undertake that type of communication, according to Scanlon. Councilman Rick Stevens also contacted Smith with a concern about Whitsitt’s email, according to Scanlon.

The attorney for Mariner Real Estate Management was notified about Whitsitt’s email, Scanlon said. Mariner is the developer of Willits Town Center and applicant in the land-use matter Whitsitt addressed.

Scanlon said the town recognized an infraction occurred, informed everybody involved, and the mayor was notified that type of communication shouldn’t occur again.

“It’s just bad form, and it’s not smart,” Scanlon said.

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