February 27, 2013
City employees can carry concealed weapons to work as long as they have the proper permit, the Colorado Springs City Council decided Tuesday.
President Pro Tem Jan Martin and President Scott Hente voted against the policy change, saying they weren’t convinced it would make city buildings safer.
“I’m just not convinced that more guns in the workplace is the right answer,” Hente said.
The public and elected officials have been able to carry concealed weapons into most of the city’s 140 or so buildings, but the personnel policy banned the practice among city employees.
“I feel we have to extend this to our own employees,” said Mayor Steve Bach, who proposed the policy change.
Bach acknowledged at a news conference that he and his wife have concealed carry permits.
“I don’t carry all the time; I do it when I think it’s appropriate,” he said.
He noted that the city is taking other measures to make its buildings more â€¨secure.
In other action at the Tuesday meeting:
• Tax activist Doug Bruce, who has mostly stayed out of the public eye since getting out of jail in June, showed up to protest what city officials say is mostly an accounting detail tied to the now-dormant Stormwater Enterprise. The ordinance calls for a paper transfer of about $15 million in projects from the Stormwater Enterprise to the city general fund. Bruce contended it was an illegal move under Issue 300, which voters approved in 2009 to eliminate the Stormwater Enterprise and the fees that were assessed to fund stormwater projects.
But City Attorney Chris Melcher said the transfer of assets is an accounting move that does not violate Issue 300 or other city laws. Bruce tried to press his case, but Hente shut him down, telling him he was limited to three minutes, just like the other members of the public who had spoken earlier on other issues.
“I will not wrap up my comments,” a defiant Bruce said, but he backed off with a statement that he was doing so under protest.
The council unanimously approved the transfer.
• The council OK’d amendments to the city’s water shortage ordinance and will take it up on second reading March 12. But the council won’t decide on whether to implement watering restrictions until March 26, when there will be a public hearing. Utilities has recommended limiting turf watering to two days a week but could revamp its stand if March snowfall is abundant.
• The council set April 9 as the date for a public hearing to discuss the expansion of Utilities’ solar garden project, which allows residents to tap into solar energy if they can’t or won’t install a rooftop system. Participants get credits on their utility bills.
Contact Barbara Cotter: 636-0194 or email@example.com