Chuck McConnell: Promises to be open, transparent
I am running for city council because I love Steamboat Springs, and I can do a better job of leadership for our community. We have faced a number of difficult issues during the past several months. We deserve the very best representatives who will successfully resolve those issues.
My career of increasing responsibility for producing and implementing large budgets and ultimately management of a company with 2,500 employees has given me the skills to listen, analyze and successfully solve problems. I am retired and will represent the best interests of our community and not special interests.
My promise is to be an open, transparent and accessible member of the Steamboat Springs City Council.
The new council will have the opportunity to hire a new city manager. I will take an active role in selection of that individual. One of my goals will be to hire a person who has the qualities to be a long-term employee.
We have seen positive results when highly capable managers are in place in other communities and have worked well throughout several years with councils and staff. I will look for a person with excellent qualifications and experience in a community similar to Steamboat and who shares our values. This hiring decision will be one of our first and most important jobs as a new council.
Another issue we recently faced was the lack of information released to the current city council from the internal police investigation. I will do everything I can to have those reports made available to the new council.
This significant investigation led to the departure of the police chief and deputy chief. I think the investigation reports would give important information about the need for public safety policy changes. Without access by council to the report, the benefits of this information are lost.
The cost of the investigation was more than $100,000. It is only fair that Steamboat Springs’ council members, at a minimum, have the power to gain insights from conclusions found in the report about our public safety department. After all, the investigation was paid for with our tax dollars.
The hiring of a new police chief is a very serious issue. I think it would have been wise to include the new city council and city manager in the important decision process of hiring the new chief.
The new chief must have a track record of establishing collaboration between his/her agency and the individuals and organizations served. Unfortunately, the hiring will be done before the new council and city manager are in place.
I certainly don’t have a problem with the committee now charged with the hiring task but given the recent disturbing issues surrounding the police department, the new leadership should be included. For the future, I would support formation of a police commission represented by city council, residents and the new chief to review police actions and practices.
I have prepared myself for the honor of representing you as a member of our city council. I understand that council members are representatives. We speak for the folks who put us in office and absolutely not our own agendas.
Current and past council members have shown me the tools of effective representation. I will do my homework, study the meeting packets and be ready to contribute at meetings.
Also, I will never forget that communication, openness and honesty with fellow council members and the public are absolutely essential. And finally, I pledge to this great community to work hard to serve the people who elect me.
I ask you for your vote.
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A local resident since 1969 who worked in social services and real estate, Catherine Lykken has decided, at age 85, not to renew her professional real estate license next year.