Court rulings top CFOIC’s 2021 list of Colorado transparency highlights and lowlights, with the most impactful paving the way for a state law change that lets governments publicly name just one finalist for chief executive positions like university president, city manager and school superintendent.
Gov. Jared Polis
The Colorado Supreme Court will not review an appellate court’s reversal of a ruling against the University of Colorado regents for refusing to publicly disclose the names and applications of all six candidates interviewed for the president’s job that went to Mark Kennedy in 2019.
The Colorado Supreme Court removed a frustrating barrier for some requesters of police internal affairs records, deciding that criminal justice agencies may not withhold completed IA files from the public simply because the requester has not referenced a “specific, identifiable incident” of alleged misconduct by an officer.
The 2021 Colorado legislative session produced a mixed bag of good and not-so-good developments for those concerned about government transparency.
A bill that lets public bodies in Colorado disclose just one finalist when choosing a new chief executive officer such as a school superintendent, a university president or a city manager will become law without the signature of Gov. Jared Polis.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis, requesting a veto of House Bill 21-1051, which would allow state and local public bodies to disclose just one finalist for chief executive officer positions.
Ski industry officials often note that resort deaths are incredibly rare, at roughly a one-in-a-million chance of occurrence. However, we still don’t fully understand how the state’s deadliest seasons stack up against one another because the industry and the state’s resorts are not required to divulge fatality stats, and national data released annually lacks detail or is incomplete.
The RTD board’s bylaws do require that each member file a financial interest disclosure form with the district. But the agency initially denied my request for copies of those forms, citing the personnel files exemption in the Colorado Open Records Act.
An unarmed Black man is brutally murdered by police, who are utterly indifferent to his repeated pleas for restraint. First the people in that city, then across the nation (and, eventually, across the globe) take to the streets. They demand justice. They demand accountability. And they call upon the police, not only in that city but across the nation, to reform their practices, to eliminate racial profiling and overly aggressive militaristic responses, and to become more transparent — including by publicly releasing body-worn camera recordings of police-public confrontations.
COVID-19 touched nearly every aspect of our lives in 2020 so of course it affected government transparency and public access to courts in Colorado.