Parker: Group seeking to remove Parker Water and Sanitation board members appeals decision to throw out recall petition

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Here’s an update on the recall petition for Parker Water and Sanitation board members, from Chris Michlewicz writing for the Parker Chronicle. From the article:

Transparency Advocates for Parker Water and Sanitation filed an appeal earlier this month to have a Douglas County District Court judge review whether there was a legal basis for throwing out the petition, which contained more than 500 signatures. Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith ruled that false or misleading information was used when the group was circulating the petition. Now the Transparency Advocates are challenging the grounds for the dismissal because they say county officials misinterpreted the scope of their duties. “It pains me to point the finger at Jack Arrowsmith because I think he relied on faulty legal advice,” said Merlin Klotz, a member of the recall group.

In one claim, TAPWS did not accuse the water board members of legal wrongdoing, but rather suggested that they violated the public trust by circumventing Colorado’s open meetings law. The law requires public notice when three or more board members meet to discuss business. Some board members have admitted to speaking individually with one another about rescinding a water rate increase that was approved in December. The group says Arrowsmith should not have reviewed the allegation and dismissed the petition because his ruling stated that the evidence was insufficient to prove that the law was broken.

Arrowsmith could have scheduled a recall election that enables the public to decide whether four out of the five Parker Water and Sanitation District board members should be unseated…

The petitioners said Arrowsmith also failed to notify the recall petition targets on the day the petition was approved. The letters to the board members about the approval were dated March 11, four weeks later than required by law.

In its appeal to Douglas County District Court Judge Vincent White, TAPWS outlined several other examples of what it calls improper interpretations of the law when deciding to throw out the petition, which was submitted in February. Klotz said the clerk and county attorneys might have used the dismissal to cover up possible legal errors. County officials declined to address any specific allegations in the pending case. Arrowsmith dismissed the petition April 23 after finding that information on the opposition group’s Web site could have unfairly swayed the opinions of those who signed it. TAPWS maintains that the information was accurate.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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