Colorado Springs council seeks recommendations to change executive session policy

The Gazette (Colorado Springs): A near coup on the Colorado Springs City Council almost canceled a secret discussion Monday about the council’s policies on executive sessions.

But despite three council members’ expressions of discomfort over secret meetings, two of them changed their votes minutes later to enable an executive session about executive sessions.

The council has settled at least seven lawsuits since 2013 behind closed doors, spending about $5.4 million, The Gazette has reported. The votes in closed sessions apparently violated Colorado’s open meetings law.

The council now is discussing whether those settlements should be decided in public.

A two-thirds majority vote is required to hold an executive session. During an initial vote Monday, Council President Richard Skorman and council members Yolanda Avila and Bill Murray voted against the closed session. Five others voted for it. (Councilman Tom Strand was absent.)

The council first met on the topic last month – in a closed session. Monday’s executive session was to continue that discussion.

Skorman said he was uncomfortable holding another closed conversation on the topic.

Even Councilman Andy Pico, who voted in favor of Monday’s closed session, said he was uncomfortable doing so and would not vote to do so again for such a conversation.

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