Teller Commissioners rebuff chairman’s streamlining approval plan



~ by Rick Langenberg ~

The majority of the Teller County commissioners have made a move to maintain the status quo and the current spirit of transparency, even if such actions take more time and are tedious at times.  

Norm Steen

In a rare debate among the commissioners, board leaders Norm Steen and Marc Dettenrieder sternly vetoed a plan proposed by Chairman Dave Paul, calling for streamlining the approval of business

Marc Dettenrieder
Chairman Dave Paul

actions/items at regular meetings.

These business item discussions are relatively routine, and rarely involve any disputes or controversies. These publicly discussed business items deal with such subjects as contracts, and the allotment of monies for government agencies and nonprofits, and special event requests. These items are presented by the county administrator and may take 30 minutes to complete. It is extremely rare, when the commissioners disagree with the staff recommendations. But separate votes are conducted for each individual business item, a process that can get tedious. 

During last week’s meeting, Paul proposed doing something different and having all business items approved in a single vote, almost similar to how governing bodies handle a consent calendar. He noted that a particular item could be discussed, if concerns arise. This is how similar actions are handled by the city of Woodland Park.  

But Paul’s plan didn’t get a warm welcome from his peers.

Steen stated that even though the process is tedious at times, he wants to maintain a transparent atmosphere. Moreover, he cited this as a top goal identified on the county government’s web page. Steen indicated too that some citizens or interested parties may want to now details of the contracts approved by the commissioners.

“I like the way we do it,” added Dettenrieder, who echoed similar sentiments. Both commissioners made it clear they didn’t support the change advocated by Paul.

Paul, though, favored the change as a way to streamline the process. The business action/items often slow down the commissioner meetings, according to observers.  

However, currently the commissioner meetings are among the shortest length of government forums conducted in the Teller County area. The also feature the lowest attendance rate because they are held in the mornings in Cripple Creek. And unlike other forums in Cripple Creek and Woodland Park, they are not available to view on-line.