Letter: Ideological tests bad for Aspen

Commenting on the efforts of no-growth proponents to interject themselves into the selection process for filling the post of director of Community Development, I queried how many other spots on the city organization chart also were targeted as having a no-growth litmus test as a precursor for employment. In less than a week. we have the answer in the form of an open-ended list provided by Steve Goldenberg. Here it is:

“The city manager, the city attorney, the head of the Planning Department, the head of the Historic Preservation (Commission) and other controversial key staff positions.” Read the last phrase — “and other controversial key staff positions” — to mean anyone employed by the city who takes a position that can be construed as favoring some form of city growth that is objectionable to this group.

Goldenberg incorrectly equates the prior practice of having judges elected by popular ballot (that carries the specter of campaign contributions giving rise to a perception of currying influence) with an administrative act of filling staff positions, which is not subject to campaigning or a popular vote. The methodology he proposes is well-suited to filling multiple vacancies of identical positions (district judges) but ill-suited across the spectrum of city jobs deemed by some to be “controversial.”

It does not take a fortune-teller to predict the trajectory of this dispute; another citizen’s petition leading to a ballot measure amending the Home Rule Charter to establish some form of selection panel in the hiring process for diverse administrative positions. And taken together with Referendum 1, the long-term goal also is clear: convert the City Council into a mere caretaker where all issues of consequence are decided either by popular ballot or by single-issue groups populating citizen’s boards.

That is not a path for our city that keeps Aspen, Aspen.

Neil B. Siegel