Jeffco commissioner’s open-meetings objection off track

From the Columbine Courier (South Jefferson County):  A drawn-out drama involving a proposal to add striped bicycle lanes on certain roads veered into strange territory last week when County Commissioner Don Rosier accused fellow Commissioner Casey Tighe of violating the state’s Open Meetings Law by talking to a reporter.

At a meeting Nov. 24, Rosier said Tighe violated the sunshine law by giving an interview to a Courier reporter after the commissioners on Oct. 27 voted a third time to delay a final decision on the bike lanes.

Rosier maintained that the deliberative process was corrupted because Tighe spoke to the reporter. However, a baffled Tighe said he didn’t believe he’d violated the law, and County Attorney Ellen Wakeman agreed.

“To be up front, and I know that the county attorney is aware of my concerns; this was a hearing that was continued, and there’s been discussions outside of this hearing in regard to different items. I don’t feel that has been appropriate,” Rosier said. “… When anything is published, when anything is discussed outside an active hearing, it has impacts to that hearing. … I believe there’s been a violation of open meetings.”

However, Wakeman said Tighe’s interview with the Courier didn’t violate the law. Because the transportation codes were a legislative matter and not a quasi-judicial decision, he was free to discuss it, she said.

“I do not legally think it is a violation of anything,” Wakeman said.

Tighe said he didn’t know before last week’s meeting that Rosier had issues with his talking to a reporter about government business. As of Nov. 28, he said Rosier hadn’t talked with him directly about the accusation.

Tighe said that had the commission been considering a land-use case, it might have been a different story.

Visit the Columbine Courier for more.

Subscribe to Our Blog