Feedback Loop: Public Employees Paid to Lobby At Public Hearing

In 1939, Congress passed the Hatch Act which put broad prohibitions on political activities of federal employees. Many state and federal jurisdictions have similar prohibitions on taxpayer-funded employees engaging in advocacy activities while on the public dime.

 Commissioner Cindy Domenico can't say enough positive things about County Employee of the Month, Norrie Boyd in 2012 staff photo. 

Commissioner Cindy Domenico can't say enough positive things about County Employee of the Month, Norrie Boyd in 2012 staff photo. 

We wonder what standard is being employed here in Boulder County where public employees are directed by their elected bosses to lobby citizens on behalf of the boss's pet projects. The excerpt below is from an e-mail sent by Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) Division Director Norrie Boyd. Note how she breathlessly tells residents to contact the County Commissioners in support of developing Twin Lakes. What Ms. Boyd neglects to mention is that the County Commissioners are also the Commissioners of the Boulder County Housing Authority... her bosses!

Case in Point: Norrie Boyd's letter to BCHA tenants

 Dear <Citizen> 

We need your help. We are doing all we can to ensure decision-makers have a full picture of the need for more affordable homes for those amongst us who can no longer meet Boulder County's skyrocketing housing costs. At the same time some Twin Lakes neighbors, opponents of our proposal to build up to 240 affordable homes on our (and the Boulder Valley School District's) Twin Lakes properties in Gunbarrel, are doing all they can to try to defeat it.

Will you write an email to decision-makers to tell them what you know about the need for more affordable housing in Boulder County? Your perspective could make a big difference right now.

At this point, two decision-making bodies need to hear from you: Boulder County Commissioners and Boulder County Planning Commission members. You can write a short email of support (please indicate you're speaking about the Twin Lakes affordable housing proposal), outline why you think our proposal should be approved, and send it along. Here are the email addresses (you can send to both at the same time):

Boulder County Commissioners: commissioners@bouldercounty.org

Boulder County Planning Commission members: planner@bouldercounty.org

Please send your email as soon as possible. The next meeting on this issue is Tuesday, August 30, and it's an important one. You don't need to speak for your organization, any member of the public can and should weigh in on this issue. So please forward this request to anyone who can help right now.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL LETTER

Thank you!

Norrie Boyd, Boulder County Housing Authority

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There you go, folks... a Boulder County Housing Authority employee telling taxpayers to lobby the County Commissioners who also run the Housing Authority.  If the County Attorney were not also an alum of the County Commission, maybe the rules would be enforced! Only in Boulder!