Buck: Rather than wantonly eliminating the Weld County Council, elect better council members
October 17, 2017
This November, Weld County voters will decide whether to eliminate the Weld County Council. As a resident of Weld and a proponent of good and fair governance, I urge you to vote against Ballot Question 1A.
The voters of Weld County created the council as part an overall plan to encourage local control of decisions affecting Weld's residents. The home rule charter empowered the council to oversee the Weld County Commissioners.
By asking the voters to abolish the Weld County Council, the commissioners seek to eliminate safeguards erected to the home rule charter and place more authority under the commissioner's control.
The decision to place 1A on the ballot came right after the Weld County Council contracted with an out-of-state, independent firm to conduct an audit of the county commissioners. Axing your own oversight body right after they suggest improvements undermines public confidence in good government.
The county council plays an important oversight role for Weld County. Adding an extra layer of accountability in government doesn't necessarily make government bigger. I proudly tell my colleagues in Congress that my home county is the only county in the U.S. with no county sales tax and no debt.
The council has the authority to audit county agencies, set salaries for county elected officials and oversee ethical issues in county government. If voters are dissatisfied with the performance of the council, the answer is to elect a more robust council, not to eliminate a key component of the home rule charter.
Recommended Stories For You
The council also offers Weld County residents an easy way to volunteer in our community's governance, and I know many individuals who have been introduced to public service by sitting faithfully on this nonpartisan, unpaid body.
Ultimately, no governmental body is sacrosanct. But rather than wantonly tossing out the county council as part of an intergovernmental disagreement, Weld County residents should holistically review the county charter and determine the value of the county council and its role in the proper functioning of our entire government. In this spirit, I urge you to vote no on 1A.
— Ken Buck represents Colorado's 4th District, which includes Weld County, in the U.S. House of Representatives.