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Colorado Springs Fire Chief complains about councilwoman’s “tone” and “behavior”


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal raised "concerns" about elected Councilwoman Lynette Crow-Iverson's "tone" and "behavior" during the presentation of the now failed proposal to start a government-run ambulance service.

KRDO13 Investigates obtained the fire chief's email to Council President Randy Helms. Royal sent it three days after the council rejected his proposal to launch an EMS enterprise. Royal copied Crow-Iverson, one of five council members who voted against the city start-up.

The fire chief described Crow-Iverson's questioning of the proposal's financial aspects as "disrespectful" and "derogatory." Royal's concerns included "the tone" the councilwoman used, adding Crow-Iverson was "not allowing" speakers to finish their answers and "being accusatory" about their answers.

"The community counts on City Council to ask the hard questions when we're vetting proposals that would have far-reaching effects," Crow-Iverson explained to KRDO13 Investigates. "The vote didn't go how Royal wanted, and I was one of the councilmembers who voted no. I give him grace because he was obviously upset with the loss."

Last week, KRDO13 Investigates reported on what appears to be a growing rift over the vote between the city council members, the mayor, and the fire chief.

Mayor Yemi Mobolade and Fire Chief Randy Royal said a city-operated ambulance division would mean faster response times and a lower cost for residents than American Medical Response (AMR), the city's current EMS provider. However, the council members who voted against the proposal expressed concerns that it could cost the city tax dollars instead of supporting itself.

"According to his letter, Chief Royal took special exception to the questions I asked of Mitch Holder. Holder works for Digitech, a billing company that helped CSFD prepare its revenue projections, which many of us, including the City Auditor, found to be overly optimistic. My concern was that Digitech may have been telling CSFD what they wanted to hear about likely revenues in order to get the ambulance billing contract. For that reason, I asked Holder whether Digitech would recuse itself from bidding on it, as having a conflict of interest. That was an uncomfortable question for him, but it was important."

Lynette Crow-Iverson

KRDO13 Investigates contacted Chief Royal's office for an interview or comment about the email.

"If you look at the Chief’s email, his motivation was generated by others who came to him, both city employees and citizens, who shared their concerns after viewing the council meeting.   These concerns aligned with the Chief’s own observations.   Additionally, this concern was not directed at one interaction with one individual, but with the various presenters, and in fact, no one is specifically named in the email.  Also, it had nothing to do with the vote itself, as the Chief understands that not all votes or decisions will be in the department’s favor and dealing with differing opinions is part of dealing with politics.   If was purely focused on the tone and management of the specific interactions. The Chief did not address any other opposing council members interactions.   He feels he addressed this situation appropriately with those involved and that he will continue to work in a positive manner with the council moving forward which has always been the case in the past."

Colorado Springs Fire Department Spokesperson Ashley Franco

After publishing this story, we received a copy of a text message Chief Royal sent Crow-Iverson before sending his email to Helms.

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Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is the Assistant News Director for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.


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