Statutory City Government
The City of Walsenburg is the county seat of Huerfano County, located in Southern Colorado at the junction of Interstate 25 and State Highways 160 & 10. Incorporated on June 16, 1873, Walsenburg was the first statutory city and the seventh incorporated municipality in the Territory of Colorado. There are 10 other remaining statutory cites in the State of Colorado
The legislative and corporate authority of statutory cities is vested in an elected mayor and city council. The mayor presides over city council meetings and has the same voting powers as other board members. The mayor is responsible for supervising the conduct of municipal officers and investigating complaints against them. Mayors are elected from the city at large. Members of the council are elected to represent a specific ward. The city clerk and treasurer are elected from the city at large. Members of the council are elected to represent a specific ward. The city clerk and treasurer are elected from the city at large. However, the city council may submit a proposal to the registered electors to change the city clerk and treasurer to appointive offices (Walsenburg voters have not approved this change in past elections). If approved by the voters, the appointment of the city clerk and treasurer would be made by the city council. The city council may also submit a proposal to the registered electors to return to return these offices to elective offices.
Walsenburg is currently organized as a weak mayor-council form of government with a city administrator, not a city manager. Under this form of government, the mayor and the council primarily address policy matters, and an administrator implements and administers the council's policies. The administrator has the power to appoint and remove all officers and employees in the administrative service of the city. The council is prohibited from directing the hiring or removal of administrative officers and employees. The authority of the city administrator is derived from a delegation of city council's power by ordinance and by contract and not from a statute. In order for a city to move to a city manager form of government a ballot referendum is required. A city can operate with a city manager form of administration without being home rule (Rocky Ford & Florence). However, most cities with city managers are home rule. Home rule requires establishing a charter committee, writing a charter, and getting approval of the charter. It is a lengthy, relatively complex process with some significant possible potholes along the way. Walsenburg has considered becoming a home rule city as are most Colorado cities, however, it has not voted to start the process.