On our ballots: City Charter Amendments 1 and 2

Natalie Weiland

graphic illustration of horsetooth rock with filled out ballots floating in the wind above
(Graphic illustration by Abby Flitton | The Collegian)

Two amendments to the Charter of the City of Fort Collins would increase transparency in the government if passed. 

Charter Amendment No. 1

A city-initiated charter amendment up for a vote in the April 6 election would clarify and amend the process to appoint or replace a mayor pro tem to the City Council. 


According to Merriam-Webster, a “pro tem,” or “pro tempore,” official is one who fills a governmental position temporarily in the absence of the individual who permanently holds that position

The mayor pro tem is selected from among the members of the City Council and serves a two-year term in the position. 

Transparency in process and clarity of intent are key to responsible municipal governance.” -Nick Armstrong, City Council District 1 candidate

If passed, City-Initiated Proposed Charter Amendment No. 1 would amend Section 4 of Article II of the City Charter to reform the process of electing a mayor pro tem. The new changes would build upon existing rules that dictate a mayor pro tem is chosen after a City election, now updated to include that this election must take place after the recount period has passed. 

This is a departure from the previous system in which a 2017 change caused the election of a mayor pro tem to sometimes occur before newly elected council members took office, as explained in the measure text.

The amendment would also create a more specific guide for the selection of a mayor pro tem in the event of a resignation before the end of one’s term.

“If a vacancy occurs in the position of mayor pro tem, whether through resignation or otherwise, the Council shall, at the first regular or special meeting after the occurrence of such vacancy, elect a new mayor pro tem to serve for the remainder of the vacated term,” the amendment said.

Nick Armstrong, candidate for City Council District 1, feels that the amendment would increase transparency within the Fort Collins government. 

“Transparency in process and clarity of intent are key to responsible municipal governance,” Armstrong wrote in an email to The Collegian.

A vote “yes” on the initiative is in favor of the amendment to the City Charter, and a vote “no” opposes the changes. 

Charter Amendment No. 2

The City-Initiated Proposed Charter Amendment No. 2 on the ballot in the April 6 election would revise Section 8, Article VIII of the City Charter to allow the City Council the ability to change campaign finance laws to reflect changing laws regarding campaign funds as political speech. 


According to the text of the amendment, this change would allow the City Council “to prohibit such campaign contributions and expenditures as it determines reasonably appropriate,” as well as “require disclosures and reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures.”

If passed, the measure would also remove previous prohibitions on City employees, political parties or “any other person, firm or corporation, owning, interested in or intending to apply for any franchise or contract with the City” from making direct or indirect contributions to the campaign of any candidate, as stated in the text.

The reasoning for these changes to Section 8 can be found in the ordinance text, which explains that the goal is to allow the rules to adapt to the ever-changing definition of campaign contributions as political speech as set through case law by both the Colorado Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States.

The amendment aims to “consolidate” the various restrictions City Council is able to place on issues relating to campaign donations and expenditures, as well as allow the laws to adapt to changes that may be made at the state or federal level, according to the text. 

A “yes” vote acts in favor of the changes to Section 8 set forth by the ordinance, and a “no” vote opposes these changes. 

Natalie Weiland can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @natgweiland