City Manager Michael Penny was fired by a 4-2 vote at the June 14, 2016 Littleton city council meeting.
If you have been watching city council meetings over the past few months, you have witnessed the growing disenchantment with the city manager by different members of council, each for different reasons. But what came out during the meeting is astounding.
-Mayor Bruce Beckman cited that he had lost trust in Penny. In particular, he related how Penny’s way of dealing with a Channel 7 news reporter on a murder/suicide incident in Littleton earlier this year put Beckman in the position of not knowing the facts. Thus Beckman was blindsided by a reporter at a public event. Beckman said that Penny had advised him to just respond by saying he was sorry for the loss. As it turned out, Penny had not provided him with details that were awkward for the city of Littleton.
-As recently announced, the city of Littleton lost its lawsuit against Arapahoe County. Littleton as led by Penny spent thousands of taxpayer dollars claiming that agricultural land could be included in an urban renewal plan. The county prevailed, and taxpayers will also pay the county’s legal expenses for the case.
-And there’s The Grove, a 160-unit apartment complex which Penny’s staff approved even though citizens pointed out at least 17 major zoning violations. Penny refused to give any explanation until through the persistence of council member Doug Clark, city staff had to produce a document explaining their interpretation of the city’s code that allowed for the Grove to be approved. Just reading the document will give you several reasons to challenge the legality of the approval.
– Although not mentioned at this particular meeting but a prior one, there’s the instance of Penny’s pricey new “way finding” signs in downtown Littleton. It would be funny if it hadn’t cost the taxpayers so much money. Why has the project not been completed? It’s because the signs violate the city’s own sign code.
How did we get this list of problems that led to council losing their trust in the city manager? Here’s an insight: As one citizen reported, “Penny told me that what difference does it make how we get ‘there’ as long as we get ‘there.’” As it turned out, many council members and citizens were baffled and not at all happy about how he chose to get ‘there.’
For citizen’s minutes of the Special Session – https://littletonviews.com/2016/06/20/special-council-meeting-june-14-2016-firing-of-city-manage/