Denver City Council will use a new law designed to give more transparency to the mayoral appointment process when it considers Mayor Michael Hancock’s pick to lead DIA.
Some context: Hancock announced last week he was nominating Phil Washington to replace DIA CEO Kim Day, who’s retiring next month. Washington used to lead Los Angeles County’s regional transportation authority and, before that, RTD. But questions and concerns have been raised about Washington since the LA agency he used to run is facing public corruption allegations. Washington has said he is not involved in the allegations.
Before last year, Hancock could have just appointed Washington — and 13 other key city positions. But thanks to the law, which was co-written by Councilmembers Amanda Sawyer and Candi CdeBaca, council can now block his appointments with a majority vote.
Here’s where things get a little technical.
A City Council committee will consider Washington’s appointment on June 30. Instead of just passing Washington’s appointment through to the full council, which is typically how these appointments happen, committee members will get a chance to discuss his appointment and ask him questions. Then members will decide whether to send the decision to the full City Council, where lawmakers will get to formally decided whether to approve or block the nominee.
Sawyer called Washington an “excellent candidate” but said giving council members a chance to discuss and ask him questions will provide more transparency and accountability to the hiring process.
If his appointment passes the City Council committee, it’ll go before the full council on July 12.