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Monday January 30th 2023

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The Pearlman Appointment


Although we have frequently and enthusiastically commended Boulder County Commissioners Will Toor and Cindy Domenico and former County Commissioner Ben Pearlman on their work for Boulder County over the past years, we are compelled to express our disappointment in and disapproval of their recent decision to appoint Mr. Pearlman as Boulder County Attorney. A conflict-of-interest is inherent in a decision by a small public body to select one of its own members for a position that it controls, particularly when all of its members are part of the same political party and are generally allied on the issues which have arisen before it. This conflict results in an appearance of impropriety that seriously weakens the public trust in the fairness and openness of local government.

The appearance of impropriety created by the Pearlman appointment is exacerbated by similar, past personnel decisions by prior sets of Boulder County Commissioners. The damage is further compounded by the cascade of replacement appointments, precipitated by the Pearlman selection, which has and will be made by a relatively small core of Democratic Party workers, instead of voters in primary and general elections.

We question the need for the apparent haste with which Mr. Pearlman was appointed and submit that a more prudent course of action would probably have been the designation of an interim County Attorney, followed by a permanent selection after two new Commissioners are elected next fall. We also urge the current County Commissioners to adopt—and current and future County Commissioners to enforce—a rule that would prevent a sitting Commissioner from being appointed to another County position during his or her term in office or immediately after it ends.

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