City Council members apologize for ticket decision |

City Council members apologize for ticket decision

Arion Schweikert twirls a hula hoop in 2010 as she watched the Free Summer Concert Series event at Howelsen Hill.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council is seeking to quell a controversy over calling dibs on free concert tickets and VIP passes with apologies, a call for a revote and an agreement to review and possibly update the council’s 40-year-old code of ethics.

“We had a faux pas, and let’s move on,” Council President Walter Magill said after he apologized to his fellow council members for allowing the vote to transpire the way it did and cause angst.

The council will entertain a revote on its decision to take first pick of Strings concerts tickets and Free Summer Concert VIP passes at its next regular meeting on Tuesday.

The council’s first vote on the issue broke from a recent council tradition of donating freebie tickets to nonprofits or volunteers.

The decision angered many residents who saw the move as selfish and lacking integrity.

Some council members on Tuesday suggested the city should “take a high road” and not accept the free tickets and passes for the events it sponsors with taxpayer money in the first place.

“They are recognizing us as if we are a business sponsor, but our role is different,” Councilman Scott Ford said. “If the city then wants to buy these tickets and passes, then that’s a discussion the council can have.”

Councilman Tony Connell, who advocated for the council having first pick of the concert tickets and passes, apologized on Tuesday for the approach he took to the decision and for his wording.

He said he wanted to reward the council for the extra time it is putting into work sessions and meetings.

“Sorry about the crapstorm,” Connell said.

Councilwoman Robin Crossan said if the council does walk back its decision, it just shows the community that the elected officials are human.

“We made a mistake, we had time to think about it, and we’re just like everybody else,” she said.

She and other council members suggested the timing of the discussion late at night and more than four hours into a council meeting contributed to the outcome.

Councilwoman Heather Sloop said her family had received a threatening phone call as a result of her vote in favor of the decision.

Her fellow council members said it was inexcusable for someone to call and make a threatening comment.

The council’s discussion on the controversy came during a portion of a work session where the council was discussing building community trust.

“This doesn’t build trust,” Councilman Connell said.

City Attorney Dan Foote suggested the council use the event as an opportunity to review the council’s 40-year-old code of ethics.

Foote said he had some suggestions to bring to council at a future meeting.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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