Colorado Springs councilwoman accuses colleagues of ‘pre-planning’ vote

From The Gazette (Colorado Springs):  An infuriated Councilwoman Helen Collins accused her colleagues Tuesday of “pre-planning” their 7-1 vote to appoint a hearing officer in her ethics case, against her wishes.

Collins had asked for the full City Council to hear her case, saying a city-appointed hearing officer would be biased. The ethics complaints were filed by the City Attorney’s Office and investigated by the city’s Independent Ethics Commission.

But Councilman Tom Strand made the motion Tuesday to appoint a hearing officer, saying “that process will be more efficient” and the costs would be about the same.

“I also believe, as City Council members, we can ask questions of the hearing officer,” Strand said.

Councilman Larry Bagley seconded the motion.

As City Council President Merv Bennett started to call for a vote, Collins interrupted, insisting on her right to comment.

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