Colorado Springs City Council approves $425,000 lawsuit settlement without voting in public

The Gazette (Colorado Springs): In yet another apparent violation of the state’s open meetings law, the Colorado Springs City Council approved a lawsuit settlement worth nearly half a million dollars without a public vote.

The lawsuit alleged thousands of Clean Air Act violations at the Martin Drake Power Plant.

WildEarth Guardians, the New Mexico-based nonprofit that filed the suit last year, hailed the settlement as a victor.

But it’s a source of anger, confusion and surprise for some council members.

Councilman Bill Murray is chief among them. He said the council approved the settlement during an executive session April 9.

Murray said he was the sole voice opposing the vote but would have supported it had it been done publicly.

“There was no range of offers here. It was a precise settlement,” Murray said. “I argued very precisely that if we are going to talk specific numbers, we need to come out of executive session and vote in public.”

He said City Attorney Wynetta Massey told the council the matter didn’t need to be discussed publicly, and the ordeal left him “pissed.”

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