Broomfield council appointment raises questions about secret ballots

From the Broomfield Enterprise:  An Arvada man says Broomfield City Council violated state law last week when it did not make each member’s vote public when it appointed a new Ward 5 member.

Russell Weisfield alleges council violated Colorado open meetings law by using a secret ballot to select David Beacom as the new Ward 5 member. An attorney for the Colorado Press Association also said using secret ballots is not in compliance with the law.

Broomfield City and County Attorney Bill Tuthill, however, says council followed the rules, because Beacom’s appointment was approved by a public vote, even though a secret ballot process was initially used to eliminate one of the two final candidates.

Council held a public meeting Tuesday to appoint the new Ward 5 member. Members voted for one of two candidates, Beacom and David Pigott, but the process did not include disclosure of which council members voted for which candidate. They chose Beacom, who will be sworn in at a public meeting on Tuesday.

Weisfield, who spoke during the public comment period at last week’s meeting, said council members should make their votes available to the public because of a 2012 amendment to a state law. The law prohibits “state and local public bodies from adopting any proposed policy, position, resolution, rule or regulation or from taking formal action by secret ballot.”

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