The selection of Gerald “Jerry” Marks to replace Arvada City Council member Rachel Zenzinger earlier this month has prompted a lawsuit, according to court filings.
Zenzinger resigned her seat to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of State Sen. Evie Hudak in November. Hudak faced a recall following controversial comments offered during the 2013 legislative session.
Zenzinger, tapped by a Democratic vacancy committee on December 10, left Arvada’s City Council to determine a replacement for the City Council District 1 seat.
The lawsuit alleges that Arvada’s remaining council members “failed to comply with the Colorado Sunshine Act of 1972” and, in particular, refers to Colorado’s “Open Meetings Law” and the Council’s use of “secret ballots” to determine Zenzinger’s replacement. Marks was selected after multiple rounds of secret balloting, according to the lawsuit and council documents.
According to Colorado Revised Statues, a “‘secret ballot’ means a vote cast in such a way that the identity of the person voting or the position taken in such vote is withheld from the public.” The section provides for limited secret balloting–otherwise prohibited–however, “the outcome of the vote shall be recorded contemporaneously in the minutes of the body.”
The lawsuit seeks to invalidate Marks’ selection to the Arvada City Council and to recognize that Marks has not been “validly serving as a Council Member since his swearing in and that all of his votes are rendered null and void.”
“The Arvada City Attorney’s Office has only just received the complaint late yesterday [Monday] afternoon and has not yet reviewed it. The City is unable to comment on it as such,” Jill McGranahan, Arvada’s Public Relations Coordinator, told Complete Colorado.