Members of the Loveland City Council approved creation of a new trust commission on a 6-3 vote Tuesday night.
Mayor Jacki Marsh and councilors Rob Molloy and Andrea Samson voted against the idea floated by Mayor Pro Tem Don Overcash as a response to citizen concerns about the Loveland police arrest of and injury to a senior citizen with dementia last June.
The trust commission would set up a 16-person commission that could address issues brought up by Karen Garner’s arrest and look at how to repair trust between citizens and the police department and municipal government.
Marsh and Overcash will set up the process through which members of the trust commission will be chosen. The new group can present recommendations to the council, or could act autonomously with the approval of the city manager.
Two citizens spoke against the idea in person at the first meeting the council has held in person since March 2020.
Five people called in, four from the Loveland area who supported it, and one from California, who encouraged the council to hold a listening session so citizens could share their concerns.
Among those who spoke against establishing the trust commission, Larry Sarner criticized formation of the commission, saying councilors were abdicating their role to represent the citizens.
“The people who elected you, the people who you serve as their representatives, expect you to do the oversight, they expect you to establish the trust that they initially gave you when they elected you,” he said.
“You are making an admission with this proposal that you failed in your responsibilities to your constituents. If you continue to jam it through you are just confirming what everyone thinks about you at this moment.”
He also faulted the formation of a steering committee to select members of the trust commission.
Sarner said the upcoming election will be an opportunity to replace three or four councilors who think the commission is a good idea.
“It’s not the kind of thing that any representative body should ever, ever be considering.”
Kasey Mullins said she did not think she would get picked to be a part of the commission, but felt she and others have valid voices that should be heard.
“This commission to establish trust, to me, is not even starting on trust because it appears as a resident that this is being slammed through, again as I’ve said before, by the majority of council,” she said.
Another citizen, Jane Collins, told commissioners she will be attending meetings as a representative of the Loveland Justice League.
That group was formed because of the lack of trust and to look for better ways of problem-solving.
She said trust should be established through citizens.
Councilor Samson questioned how the proposed commission would deal with any tie votes since it is being set up with an even number of members.
“I’m not saying I support the commission, of course, but I’m just saying this looks like a potential issue,” she said.
City Manager Steve Adams said he will be looking for how the new commission will decide to resolve that issue.
The commission will be asked to make quarterly reports to the City Council, with a final report due by September 2022, after which the group will be disbanded.
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