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Durango city councilor faces scrutiny from fellow councilors over his conduct

Olivier Bosmans accused of misconduct and posting misleading information

Durango City Council is meeting Tuesday to discuss allegations of misconduct and violations of the city’s code of conduct directed at Councilor Olivier Bosmans, who denies all claims of wrongdoing.

Allegations assert that Bosmans posted misleading information about city business on social media and issued direct orders to city staff members instead of going through the appropriate channels, such as the city manager, among other claims.

The 68-page agenda packet for the meeting contains numerous email chains between Bosmans and City Council, City Manager José Madrigal and city staff members, presented as evidence of Bosmans’ behavior.

Bosmans

Bosmans announced in a Facebook post on Feb. 10 his intent to file an ethics complaint about another councilor who he says violated codes of conduct and ethics. The post did not say which councilor Bosmans is aggrieved by.

He confirmed on Saturday that he filed the ethics complaint the same day he posted his announcement to Facebook, and he said he cannot speak to the nature of the complaint because that would itself be a violation of conduct.

“I have a problem with the dishonesty, manipulation, intimidation, slander,” he said about other City Council members and allegations against him.

Bosmans previously filed two ethics complaints against Councilor Kim Baxter in 2021 and 2022, which were dismissed by the Durango Board of Ethics. The details of the complaints were not released, although the complaints are referenced in emails included in the Tuesday agenda packet.

On Jan. 17, Baxter said Bosmans posted “false and misleading information” about the Durango Public Library on his official “Olivier for City Council” Facebook page that she said was “just the latest example of his lack of professionalism” that should be reviewed by City Council.

“Councilor Bosmans’ pattern of repeatedly spreading misinformation regarding city operations has mischaracterized projects and facts and has continued to violate the city code by giving direction to staff,” she said.

She went on to say that Bosmans’ behavior has continued since January 2021 and violates at least seven items in the city’s code of conduct.

On Feb. 7, Councilor Melissa Youssef also mentioned Bosmans’ Facebook post regarding the library. She said the post incorrectly says library staff members requested a lower budget for this year compared with last year and that staff chose not to extend service hours.

Youssef, the City Council liaison to the library board, said Luke Alvey-Henderson, the library director, confirmed to her at a Jan. 18 library advisory board meeting that the library’s budget is higher this year than last year and the city isn’t extending library hours at this time because of fears that joint sales tax revenues, a funding source for the library, might shrink this year and next year.

Bosmans said his Facebook post wasn’t discussed during the library meeting, but Youssef said she addressed the misinformation within his post.

“Why is a councilor providing an update on that library advisory board meeting stating that the Facebook post was discussed while it was not discussed? And on top of this – and I want to be very clear – everything in (my) library post is accurate,” he said.

Youssef responded to emails from concerned resident John Simpson this week that said Bosmans’ post wasn’t discussed during the library meeting and that she either misrepresented the meeting or it was discussed afterward in an “illegal meeting.”

“During this meeting I took the time to confirm with our Library Director that the 2023 library budget was a 10% increase over 2022 totaling close to $3 million, due to inflation and a new staff position. This is all a part of the public record,” she said in an email to The Durango Herald.

Bosmans stands by his post, which he said on Saturday is accurate. Youssef said that Bosmans’ post was misleading. In another email, she said she will address confusion from residents concerned about the subject at Tuesday’s meeting.

Bosmans said allegations against him are inaccurate and slanderous.

“I believe it’s a pure form of slander. It’s political gamesmanship. It’s not following the processes and procedures that we have in place in the city of Durango,” he said. “And it’s very unfortunate that so (many) tax dollars and time (are) going to and have been spent on this.”

cburney@durangoherald.com

An earlier version of this story included an image of stacked blocks with arrows pointing one direction and a single block with an arrow pointing the other direction. The photo was included at the end of an agenda packet for Durango City Council. A photo caption implied the image was included as part of a discussion about Councilor Olivier Bosmans, but the image was related to a different agenda item.



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