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March 12, 2008

Telluride Shushing Democratic Theory

democracy in tellurideTucked away in a box canyon along the San Miguel river, Telluride, Colorado is known for its great skiing, music festivals, oversized second (and third) homes, and quaint Victorian charm. Now, whether the townspeople want it or not, the town may become known for turning its back on transparency. The Town Council in Telluride holds the power of executive session, and it is considering extending that power to other boards that are handling "sensitive issues." Executive sessions are used by all kinds of committees and boards in corporations, associations, and governments to discuss issues of a discreet nature. Executive sessions are certainly not new in government, but that doesn't mean they are good.

From the Telluride Daily Planet:

The Open Space Commission already has the authority to bar the public from its meetings. Now, the council is mulling granting this power to the Planning and Zoning and Historic and Architectural Review commissions. Town Attorney Kevin Geiger said that as the matters these commissions deal with “mature and become more controversial,” the need has occasionally risen for attorney-client privileged communications... ...Past boards and commissions have been granted these powers, on occasion and by specific ordinances, such as one that allowed the Valley Floor Advisory Board to enter into executive session with the town’s legal team."


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