Jun 232009
Authors: Madeline Novey

A spokesperson said Monday the CSU System Board of Governors is awaiting advice from legal council after a judge ruled the board violated Colorado open-meetings law when it selected Joe Blake as chancellor in a May 5 closed-door session.

Making clear the outcome of the lawsuit, whether the board chooses to appeal or not, will not void Blake’s appointment to the position today, BOG Spokesperson Michele McKinney said in an e-mail the BOG “is reviewing the judge’s order and will be considering its options in the next few days.”

Members of the three media entities that filed the lawsuit — the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Colorado Independent and the Pueblo Chieftain —— and their lawyer said they have noticed the BOG’s increased adherence to open-meetings law since filing the suit on May 6 and hope this behavior continues in the future.

“It is heartening for the newspapers to see that since the case has been filed, the board has been much more circumspect” and have followed open-meetings law, “as opposed with doing it improperly,” said Chris Beall, the Denver-based attorney representing the three media entities.

District Judge Stephen Schapanski said in a written ruling Friday he found three separate violations after reviewing the four-hour recording of the May 5 meeting. Violations included:

Substantial discussion about a board member in private, Joe Blake did not recuse himself from his position as BOG vice chairman until May 26.

Private discussions about both Blake and the only other chancellor candidate interviewed, Dennis Brimhall, former CEO of the University of Colorado hospital in Denver, and,

An instance when BOG Chairman Doug Jones asked if board members objected to selecting Blake as chancellor and all but one member objected, which qualified as a private decision, Beall said.

The Chieftain’s Managing Editor Steven Henson said he “would hope that the Board of Governors would accept the ruling and not prolong the matter.”

“Our newspaper’s position was always that Joe Blake will make a terrific chancellor . our concern was about the process,” Henson said.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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