Scott Wedel: YVHA questions
September 16, 2012
I submitted a Colorado Open Records Act request for the portions of the July 12 Yampa Valley Housing Authority board meeting discussion and vote to terminate George Krawzoff and the discussion and vote on the proposed severance package for him. It has been denied. The Housing Authority's own statement acknowledges these decisions were made July 12 in executive session, and their own meeting minutes indicate they did not occur during public session.
Because the Housing Authority board went into executive session to discuss Krawzoff's job performance and that was the last action by the board prior to firing Krawzoff, it is clear the board made those decisions during executive session. Colorado Sunshine Laws specifically state that public boards may not make decisions during executive session.
I went to Thursday's Housing Authority board meeting and spoke during public comment. I was the only member of the public there. I said the board's July 12 firing of Krawzoff and its Aug. 9 letter creates questions that should be answered. The letter states that a severance package was offered, but the details of that package have not been released. The public does not know how the board members voted on immediately terminating Krawzoff or the severance package. There is no public record of a discussion or vote on why the Housing Authority was willing to offer a severance package to someone they had decided was to be immediately terminated.
And the board's only response was to thank me for my comments. So the Housing Authority board will not answer questions regarding the severance package. They will not answer questions regarding whether they voted July 12 to terminate Krawzoff, and they will not release the board's vote. They have accepted that they made policy decisions in executive session and have no plans or desires to correct the public record by now answering questions regarding what they decided and how they voted.
They are inviting a lawsuit to force them to release these votes and discussions. The Housing Authority receives $150,000 each year from Steamboat Springs and Routt County. A similar lawsuit cost the Steamboat Springs School District more than $90,000. I think it is wrong that the Housing Authority is willing to spend its limited resources keeping its decision-making process, votes and decisions secret from the public.