Nothing inappropriate about Avon Town Councilor’s request for information (letter)
November 3, 2018
In regards to the Sunday, Oct. 28, article titled, "Smith Hymes accused of using staff for re-election," there was nothing inappropriate about council member Smith Hymes' request for existing town of Avon financial information and nothing inappropriate about town staff's response to provide the requested financial information.
Council member Smith Hymes initially requested some existing financial information on Tuesday, Sept. 25. She received a copy of an existing Moody's Financial Report and a copy of Page 79 of the Town of Avon 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report on Monday, Oct. 1. The information was forwarded to all council members on Tuesday, Oct. 2, in accordance with the town's general practice to share requested information with all council members.
The Avon Home Rule Charter grants the right to council members to make inquiries of town staff. The Fair Campaign Practices Act prohibits the use of staff resources that is for the purpose of promoting a campaign but does not prohibit or restrict town staff from responding to inquiries for public information.
In a virtually identical factual case, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in the 2009 case of Colorado Ethics Watch v. The City and County of Broomfield that it was not a violation for city staff to provide answers to a questionnaire to a mayoral candidate when city staff was aware that it was for an upcoming candidate's forum.
In this circumstance, town staff forwarded an existing financial report and an existing page from the adopted 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report to Councilor Smith Hymes in response to her request and forwarded the information to all council members in accordance with our general practice.
I am not endorsing, supporting or opposing any candidate for the Avon Town Council. Financial questions about the town of Avon are always appropriate. Every eligible voter in the town of Avon should vote.
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Eric J. Heil, Esq.
Avon Town Attorney