The Gazette (Colorado Springs): City government has one role: to serve the people with the taxes they pay. The governed own the government and have every right to watch it function in broad daylight.
Colorado Springs city leaders lost sight of this when they began settling major lawsuits behind closed doors, spending large chunks of public money without letting taxpayers know the details.
The practice came to light only because Gazette reporter Conrad Swanson interviewed City Council members and exposed about $5.4 million in legal settlements decided behind closed doors. Cases included claims for racial and gender discrimination since 2013.
Though city lawyers and council members believe they broke no laws, multiple legal experts not working for the city believe the closed-door settlements violated state open meetings statutes.
Swanson’s act of shining light on a shady practice speaks volumes about the value of the public’s right to know. As a result of Gazette reports, the City Council took action to prevent additional episodes of closed-door settlements.
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