Fraser Rec: Executive session recording retention stays at 90 days |

Fraser Rec: Executive session recording retention stays at 90 days

Patrick Brower
Special to Sky-Hi Daily News

The FVMRD Board of Directors voted not to change its policy concerning the length of time it will hold on to executive session tapes.

This came about after extensive discussion in the last six months concerning the board’s policy to destroy executive session recordings 90 days after the closed meetings take place, as allowed by Colorado’s open records law.

The board had proposed a motion at its last board meeting to hold on to the executive session tapes for one year, but that was tabled. Voted on Tuesday, May 5, that motion failed.

A new motion, moved by Greg Gallavan and seconded by John Kacik, to retain the minutes six months also failed Tuesday night by a three-to-two vote.

The move relates to Colorado’s open records laws, which require that public boards must hold on to their closed-meeting minutes for at least 90 days before destroying them.

Under Colorado law, a person who might want to contest the actions in an executive session can appeal to a judge to review the minutes or recording of the closed meeting to determine if there has been a violation within 90 days after the meeting.

Concerns about the closed meeting minutes came about in the midst of the recent failed recall attempt of three of the FVMRD board members. Some recall advocates complained that recordings or minutes of closed meetings should have been available for review over allegations of self-dealing and collusion with the developer of Grand Park.

Research conducted by FVMRD board member John Kacik revealed that most of the board’s in the county hold on to the recordings or minutes for three months, with the exception of the East Grand Board of Education, which keeps its minutes six months.

Rec district resident Becky Arnold, who was present at Tuesday’s meeting, said she thought the records should be held on to longer than 90 days because she can’t attend every meeting. She said she wasn’t aware of the relationships between the board and the developer relating to the new recreation center.

“What’s the problem with keeping them longer?” Arnold asked.

“I think we’re going to be just keeping in line with the other public entities,” said board member Pete Strohecker.

Board member Beth Sands said that all final decisions are made in open, public meetings and the minutes are posted on the District’s web site.

“I can’t believe that, the name of this rec center and the relationship with the developer. I can’t believe that the public was totally informed about that,” Arnold said.

Pat Rupert, a recall advocate, said he didn’t think 90 days was “that long.”

He said it’s misleading if a board member says no decisions were made in those closed, executive session meetings. He said negotiations on the Grand Park land donation contract – including the naming clause and hotel connection clause – were decided on in closed session with no public input.

Rupert said the rec board did not give the public the contract for public input before it was signed, adding that “it appears all the underlying decisions (concerning the Grand Park contract) were made in secret.”

Board members said the signed contract was posted for public review soon after it was approved. They said it was voted on and approved in an open, public meeting.

Despite all the debate, the board voted to keep its existing policy to hold minutes for 90 days in place.

The Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District (FVMRD) board agreed to hire ARC Integrated Program Management, Inc. to provide program management services for the proposed Fraser Valley Sports Complex Project improvements.

Those improvements, as outlined in the November, 2007 bond issue, include new bathrooms and concession stands with the utilities, such as water and sewer, needed for them. The board agreed to spend up to $10,000 under the terms of an hourly contract for team selection, contract negotiations and scope of work definition.

FVMRD director of parks and recreation, Scott Ledin said he felt the formal preliminary work needed to be done so the board of directors of the District could understand all the costs and issues related to infrastructure improvements for the expanded and improved site.

Key issues center around providing water from the town of Fraser to the site, access for a new trail, roadways and other issues that would involve many different entities such as the town of Fraser, Grand County, Colorado Department of Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad and others.

The Fraser Valley Recreation Foundation has received a $10,500 private donation from a Granby family for new gymnastics equipment to be placed in the new recreation center being built in the Fraser Valley.

Board members and Scott Ledin, the rec district parks and recreation manger, said they greatly appreciate the gift. The money is being allocated for gymnastics equipment.

With that donation, “we hope to leverage those dollars by asking for a grant for a gymnastics floor,” Ledin said.

In other donation news, Rendezvous is ready to donate $100,000 to the project, as was committed earlier. A donation ceremony is set for this week at the rec center site.

“The foundation continues to be very active,” Ledin said, adding that they are looking at re-applying for grants that weren’t originally approved. “We can’t thank the foundation enough.”

Recreation District recall advocate Pat Rupert wanted to enter into the board’s public input record that he felt the problems with the tax issues raised during the recall still exist.

“Those problems are still there and that train wreck is still coming down the pike,” Rupert said.

He urged that the board address the tax problem, eliminate the part of its agreement with Grand Park developer Clark Lipscomb concerning the naming of the recreation center and allowance of a hotel connection to the recreation center.

He said a resolution of that tax problem could be realized by including the name of the Fraser Valley in the name of the rec center.

Rupert and other recall advocates had argued that the District was vulnerable to fines from the IRS and through tax law because of its agreements with Lipscomb over the transfer of Grand Park land to the District for the recreation center.

But recreation district attorney Owen Oliver stated in a public meeting in January that, based on the opinion of a prominent national law firm familiar with such tax issues, there was probably not a tax problem relating to the contracts with Grand Park.