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Colorado Springs City Councilman says mayor is creating roadblocks to transparency

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado Springs City Councilman Dave Donelson is calling out Mayor Yemi Mobolade for a lack of transparency after he said the mayor got unnecessarily involved in communication between the councilman and the city's chief financial officer.

Donelson, who represents District 1 constituents, said councilmembers were encouraged to reach out to city department heads under Former Mayor John Suthers. However, he said that changed this week.

Below is the email chain Donelson shared with KRDO about the incident that caused him to speak out.

Email chain shared with KRDO by Colorado Springs District 1 City Councilman Dave Donelson

"Of course, mayors would like to shut up the councilman who asked the inconvenient questions," said Donelson.

Donelson has not been shy in voicing his disapproval of some of Mayor Yemi Mobolade's past decisions.

In early September, Donelson boycotted the mayor's listening session for his district, claiming the sessions limited community discussion.

Now, Donelson said the mayor is keeping him from asking questions to city leaders.

The email chain Donelson provided shows he sent a message to the Colorado Springs Chief Financial Officer asking what the city's current total spending is and what it was four years ago.

Instead of getting a response from the CFO, Donelson received an email on Monday from Mayor Yemi Mobolade, which said he needed to understand what Donelson was trying to accomplish in the request and whether other city council members supported his questions.

Donelson said Mayor Suthers always encouraged councilmembers to reach out to city officials with questions, and he believes he is receiving a change in treatment from Mobolade because he is asking tough questions.

"When you come and ask for a TABOR retention for a police training center and you don't know how much it'll even cost, it would be nicer if no one would ask you how much is it going to cost," said Donelson.

In response to the accusations that he is not being transparent, Mobolade provided the written statement below:

“As Mayor, I have prioritized a great working relationship with City Council, and I’m proud to say that we’re more collaborative than ever. It’s why I partnered with Councilmembers on the Listening Tour and in several other efforts in my first 100 days. I will continue partnering with City Councilmembers on behalf of the residents of our great city. It is important that City staff continues to support both City Council and our community. I have been tasked by our voters with ensuring responsible use of City resources, so I will seek clarity if a single Councilmember seeks to utilize these resources outside the needs of the larger body. I am disappointed that Councilmember Donelson hasn’t come to me directly to address his concerns. Democracy is about working through your differences and speaking with one another. I’ve been engaged with many councilmembers on a regular basis, and I invite Councilmember Donelson to engage with me as well.”

Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade
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Annabelle Childers

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