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Denver City Councilwomen Amanda Sawyer (left) and Candi CdeBaca present their charter amendment proposal during a Finance and Governance Committee hearing on June 9, 2020. 

The Denver City Council will hold a public hearing Monday evening for a charter change proposal that would chip away at the mayor’s power and require that the city’s legislative body approve the mayor’s 11 cabinet appointees, plus the chief of police, chief of fire and sheriff.

The proposal is led by Amanda Sawyer, who represents District 5, and Councilwomen Candi CdeBaca of District 9. Because it is a change to the city’s charter, which functions likes the city’s constitution, the proposal must be approved by voters  in this case, that would mean as soon as November. 

First, however, the city council must refer the charter change to the ballot, a move it's positioned to make, Westord reports. The charter change proposal will have its first reading Monday night and be up for a final vote on June 29.

“If we have learned anything from the demonstrations that have happened over the murder of George Floyd and the public comment that we’ve heard in this chamber, … it’s that people of the city of Denver are crying out for more transparency and accountability,” Sawyer said when presenting her proposal during a Finance and Governance Committee hearing on June 9. “Now more than ever, we owe it to our constituents to give them a more representative government.”

“As City Council, we can make all the legislative changes we want, but the people responsible for rule-making, administration, enforcement, and investigation are all appointed by and answer to the same person, the Mayor,” CdeBaca wrote in a newsletter on Monday afternoon. “This charter change would add a layer of transparency and accountability for those mayoral appointments.”

Mayor Michael Hancock’s office isn’t happy about the proposal.

“The proposed charter change, which seems more about politics than anything else, is a solution in search of a problem,” Hancock’s spokesman Mike Strott told Colorado Politics in an email last month.

“This proposal will potentially impede the Mayor’s ability to identify and recruit the most qualified individuals to serve in the administration on behalf of the people in our city,” Strott argued. “In the midst of our response to a global pandemic, there are more important issues at hand that need our attention, and we would hope that clearer minds on City Council prevail in terms of moving this proposal forward.”

For information about how to speak at the Monday night public hearing, click here.

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