Fraser Rec District clears record on Flores termination
April 29, 2008
On March 10, on this page, we raised the Fraser Metropolitan Recreation Board up the flagpole in the editorial, “Public business must be conducted in the open for all to see.” In that piece we said that they had not conducted business in a legal, open way during their dismissal of longtime executive director Cyndy Flores.
For weeks, we harped on them in articles and through our attorney to clarify the details of the Flores decision.
We worked through Colorado Press Association attorney Christopher Beall to make a request for all records related to the decision and wrote about it in the March 13 article, “Newspaper requests records related to Fraser Rec District director.”
The Fraser Rec board’s response resulted in another article, published March 24, “Fraser Rec District officials: Vote about Flores took place a month before she resigned.”
As we worked with the Fraser Rec Board to clarify the legality of the decisions, we made it clear that our pursuit was not about Cyndy Flores’ job. An executive director works at the behest of a board and it is well within their right to end that relationship.
What we did care about, however, was the process.
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Boards operate under a simple set of rules that may sometimes seem to inhibit free flowing discussion as motions are made and voted on according to a strict set of guidelines. But those rules have been created to protect the public from decisions made quietly. Those rules offer us peace of mind, that what is announced on the agenda of a meeting will be the only things acted upon.
At the beginning of April, publisher Kim Burner, editor Autumn Phillips, Fraser Rec Board President Jim Fox and Recreation Board member Beth Sands met for lunch to discuss a resolution.
We agreed that the board would post the decision item on its agenda for the next regularly scheduled meeting and they would re-vote in an open meeting, with the decision to be recorded in the minutes – following the Open Meeting Law procedure that should have been followed in January.
In many ways, it was a token gesture ” written about in the April 24 article, “Fraser Rec District rectifies Flores termination procedures.”
Since we used so many of our pages pointing fingers at the Fraser Rec Board, it is only fair that we dedicate some of the same space to thank them for doing the right thing.
This pursuit by the newspaper has been a learning experience for the members of our news team and for the members of the Fraser Recreation Board. And, we hope, it has been a learning experience for our readers ” to watch, not only the decisions that are made by your elected officials, but the way those decisions are made.
If there is one thing we have learned in our years reporting about local politics, it is that our elected officials are human. They are volunteers (some are paid small, token stipends) who truly are giving their time in hopes of bettering this community.
But to err is human and to hide the error is even more so.
We thank the Fraser Rec Board for rectifying its mistake. Now, it is time to move forward.