Colorado Springs city attorney disputes rules for executive sessions

The Gazette (Colorado Springs): In a brief refresher course Tuesday, Colorado Springs City Council members were told what they can and cannot do in executive sessions according to City Attorney Wynetta Massey.

Massey said the council can give her direction in closed meetings, but some experts disagree.

At least two council members confirmed that in a closed session last March, they used head nods to direct Massey to pursue sanctions against a clean air activist.

The state’s Sunshine Law prohibits decision-making in executive sessions.

But Massey said, “Head nods are necessary for me. How could I possibly discern the client’s wishes if I don’t know what the individual spokespeople for that client have to say? I can’t decide which way to go unless I know what the will of the client is.”

But in Colorado case law, such closed-door decision-making has been ruled illegal, said First Amendment attorney Steve Zansberg.

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