Young: Only a governor’s veto now can save transparency on finalists

Colorado Newsline: The “sole finalist” bill on its face was always a gift to powerful officials at the expense of Colorado residents. State law currently calls for public bodies to name multiple finalists for top government staff jobs, but the bill would allow officials to name just one finalist, in violation of the principles of government transparency.

But if the inherent flaws of the bill were not enough to expose its unworthiness, a real life example of the harm it could do was making news just as the bill was advancing to the governor’s desk, where it currently sits awaiting his signature.

Ever since the University of Colorado regents announced in 2019 that a former conservative congressman was the sole finalist for the CU president position, the candidate, Mark Kennedy, has served as walking testament to why the public is best served when officials are made to disclose multiple finalists before they select one. Subsequent reporting revealed that the Board of Regents, which at the time was dominated by a Republican majority, chose Kennedy in an apparent act of political favoritism over better qualified and more experienced candidates. Kennedy was never able to form a comfortable relationship with the CU community. He once asked that any statements from CU on “sensitive” topics such as race, LGBTQ issues and climate change be cleared first by his office. In April, CU Boulder faculty in an extraordinary move voted to censure him for a failure to lead on diversity issues. Now Kennedy is stepping down from his position as president, and he will get a $1.3 million payment for departing.

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