Darrin Tangeman mug for Courier column CITY ABOVE THE CLOUDS

DARRIN TANGEMAN

Voting is a critically important constitutional right for United States citizens. Voting in a municipal election provides an opportunity for residents to truly exercise local control.

On the 2020 election ballot for the City of Woodland Park voters will select a Mayor with a two-year term, and three of six Councilmembers with four-year terms. In addition to voting for the Mayor and Council non-partisan elected officials, Woodland Park residents will also vote on several charter amendment proposals. Being knowledgeable about all ballot items is one way that residents can collectively make a local impact when voting in this municipal election.

Woodland Park residents will choose from four Mayoral and five Councilmember candidates on the 2020 ballot. Running for Mayor are: Kellie Case, Noel Sawyer, Darwin “Dar” Naccarato and Val Carr; running for Council are: Jim Pfaff, Don Dezellem, Michael Dalton, Robert Zuluaga and Paul “Rusty” Neal.

Residents will have opportunities to hear from all candidates participating in two upcoming debates. The Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce will host and facilitate a candidate forum scheduled for Tuesday, March 11. This year, Woodland Park High School students will host and facilitate a student-led candidate forum in March. The date will be announced very soon. Please see local media sources as these events are promoted.

As a home rule municipality, the City of Woodland Park has its own charter which is essentially our City constitution and holds the rules which our City follows in conducting business. The Charter Review Committee has proposed 11 amendments to the charter be placed on this year’s ballot for voters to decide whether to adopt. The Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce is hosting a town hall on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 25, focused on understanding these proposed charter amendments that will help voters in casting informed votes.

In brief, the proposed amendments that voters will see on this year’s ballot are:

• City Council Member Stipends: SHALL SECTION 3.6 OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE A STIPEND FOR CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SERVICE AND SET THE AMOUNT THEREOF BY ORDINANCE?

• Term Limits and Committee Removal Criteria: SHALL SECTION 5.3(A) OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO SET TERM LIMITS OF 8 CONSECUTIVE YEARS FOR BOARD, COMMISSION AND COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS AS WELL AS ADJUST REMOVAL CRITERIA?

• Gender Neutral Terminology: SHALL THE WOODLAND PARK CITY CHARTER BE REVIEWED AND AMENDED TO REPLACE GENDER SPECIFIC TERMINOLOGY, PHRASES, OR WORDS WITH GENDER NEUTRAL FUNCTIONAL DESCRIPTIONS?

• Penalties for City Charter Violations: SHALL SECTION 15.16 OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO REMOVE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION OF THE CITY CHARTER?

• Annual Audit Date: SHALL SECTION 9.13 OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO ALIGN THE DEADLINE FOR THE ANNUAL AUDIT DATE TO THE CURRENT STATE STATUTE?

• Police Chief Employment Responsibilities: SHALL SECTION 4.9(B) OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO CLARIFY THE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYMENT RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE?

• Municipal Court Reporting Structure: SHALL SECTION 6.2(H) OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO HAVE THE CLERK OF THE MUNICIPAL COURT REPORT TO THE CITY MANAGER OR DESIGNEE INSTEAD OF CITY COUNCIL?

• Elected & Appointed Officials Qualification Standards: SHALL SECTION 3.4 OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO USE STATE STANDARDS FOR QUALIFICATIONS OF ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS?

• Removal of Personnel Merit Board: SHALL SECTION 4.3(B) AND SECTION 13.1 THROUGH SECTION 13.4 OF THE WOODLAND PARK CITY CHARTER BE AMENDED TO REMOVE THE PERSONNEL MERIT BOARD?

• Budget Best Practice Requirements: SHALL THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO REMOVE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FROM THE CHARTER BY RE-CODIFYING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BUDGET INTO THE CITY ORDINANCES FOR FUTURE FLEXIBILITY AND BEST PRACTICES?

• Petition Standards for Code Modification: SHALL SECTION 8.1 OF THE CITY OF WOODLAND PARK CHARTER BE AMENDED TO MODIFY THE STANDARD FOR CITIZEN INITIATED CHARTER AND MUNICIPAL CODE MODIFICATION PETITIONS?

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the two candidate forums in March, and the charter amendment town hall on Feb. 25. This will help you make informed choices on your ballot which will be mailed two weeks prior to the April 7 election. Local residents casting votes to make local government control decisions is both a right and a responsibility of all voters.

Darrin Tangeman is city manager for the City of Woodland Park. Following 22 years as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces, Darrin spent three years serving as Pueblo West’s chief administrative officer before coming to Woodland Park. Contact Darrin at dtangeman@city-woodlandpark.org.

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