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Ethics complaint against Skorman dismissed in 5-3 City Council vote

Oct. 7, 2018
       A majority of Colorado Springs City Council voted in late September to dismiss an ethics complaint against Richard Skorman, the council president whose District 3 includes the southern part of the Westside.
       The complaint stemmed from Skorman having identified himself as council president last March in connection with a traffic accident in which a friend of his
Richard Skorman was elected to City Council by District 3 voters in April 2017; the full council then made him their president.
Courtesy photo
had allegedly rear-ended another vehicle.
       According to the complaint, Skorman tried to convince the other vehicle's driver to let his friend leave the accident scene before police arrived - even though the friend had no identification or insurance in her name.
       Afterward, the other driver filed a complaint against Skorman with the Colorado Springs Independent Ethics Commission, which is appointed by council and is described in a City Code section under the title, Code of Ethics.
       At issue was a passage in that section prohibiting a city official from granting any individual “special consideration, treatment, or advantage beyond that which would be made available to every other… . . individual in similar circumstances.”
       The commission's five members researched the accident matter, interviewed the people involved and agreed in late August that an ethics violation had occurred. That put the complaint before council.
       Council's vote for dismissal was 5-3, with Skorman recusing himself. The majority consisted of Bill Murray, Jill Gaebler, Yolanda Avila, Merv Bennett and Dave Geislinger. Opposed were Don Knight (whose District 1 includes the northern part of the Westside), Andy Pico and Tom Strand.
       After the council meeting, Skorman issued a public apology, saying, “I want to apologize to [the individual that filed the complaint] and to the City of Colorado Springs. My intent that day was to identify myself as easy to find and not to use my position on council for a special privilege. I appreciate that after careful research and deliberation, my colleagues on council rightfully dismissed this complaint so we can move forward.”
       Murray made the motion to dismiss, asserting that Skorman had just been identifying himself to the other driver, making it clear that he could be trusted, not that he was asking for a “special benefit.”
       Knight said he looks on Skorman as a friend, but felt it was significant that the commission decision was unanimous, that “we [councilmembers] are supposed to hold ourselves to higher standards of ethics,” and that he feared the vote will be seen as “council protects one of its own.”
       Avila agreed that councilmembers are “held to a higher standard,” but it's also true that “we are constantly degraded” by some citizens even though “we care about people.”

Westside Pioneer article
(Politics: City/County)

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