Denver City Council members furious they were left off Sheriff Dept. reform panel

Denver District 10 Councilwoman Jeanne Robb

Denver District 10 Councilwoman Jeanne Robb

DENVER — An angry Denver City Council voiced displeasure that resulted in a big, quick compromise with the mayor’s office Tuesday. The disagreement was about council members being left off the committee working to overhaul the Denver Sheriff’s Department.

The meeting was contentious. Council members were outraged they were not included on the oversight committee.

Mayor Michael Hancock told FOX31 Denver it was a mistake. He says he didn’t realize how passionate council members were about being included in that process.

“What are you thinking? I am astounded,” District 10 Councilwoman Jeanne Robb said.

They were harsh words for the manager of safety and city performance officer. They were there to give council its first briefing on a timeline to rebuild the sheriff’s department.

“The process you’ve described is very confusing, it’s confusing to the public … it’s confusing to the council,” At Large Councilwoman Robin Kniech said.

The city leaders were angry they weren’t included on the blue ribbon oversight panel chosen by the mayor’s office.

“We deserve a seat the table. I mean you know, what are you continuing to hide? That’s the question that I have,” District 1 Councilwoman Susan Shepherd said.

“There’s 13 members 11 districts here … for us not to have representation I think that’s just a missed opportunity,” District 3 Councilman Paul Lopez said.

Mayor Hancock wasn’t at the meeting.

“I apologize the mayor wasn’t able to make it this morning but I know he’d appreciate having this conversation with all of you directly,” Deputy Mayor Cary Kennedy said.

“Why wasn’t here today?” District 6 Councilman Charlie Brown asked. “I don’t understand it! The question I want to ask is who arranged this meeting?”

“The public’s upset and I’m very upset,” Robb said.

After voting recently to approve a $3.4 million settlement for the jail abuse of Jamal Hunter, Denver city council members called their exclusion “unacceptable.”

Late Tuesday afternoon, council members Paul Lopez and Jeanne Robb were appointed to the blue ribbon panel.

Mayor Hancock said he couldn’t be at the meeting because of a prior family commitment. He said he “owns his mistake” and he looks forward to working with the city council closely in the future.