DENVER – If you have followed any official city news releases lately you have noticed an uptick in public events by Mayor Michael Hancock.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers discovering at least 12 press releases or taxpayer-funded events in the last two weeks. An increase over the same time last year.
Some events the Mayor does every year – like paint the streets purple for the Rockies. Others are new – like a new style town hall advertised via official city email accounts.
The number of events is of note because ballots in the mayoral election will be mailed out the week of April 15; that’s in less than two weeks.
“It’s a political strategy on their part to get out there and look like there is a lot happening but I called him out yesterday,” Jaime Giellis, one of the mayor’s challengers said.
“You shouldn’t have to wait six months before an election to decide there are a whole bunch of initiatives you have to kick off,” Penfield Tate, another challenger, said.
FOX31 Political Reporter Joe St. George went to a recent mayoral event and asked Hancock what is going on with his active schedule.
“Are you campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime?” St. George asked Hancock.
“I’m running the city,” Hancock said.
“The Department of Transportation was something we worked on for two years and we knew this was a time we might roll it out,” Hancock said.
“Why announce it two weeks before ballots are dropping though?” St. George responded.
“Why not? It was ready,” Hancock added.
“My job is to run the city and govern the city until the time I leave office,” Hancock said.
Campaign officials tell FOX31 there is nothing illegal about incumbent politicians holding official events prior to elections.
It is also important to note the Mayor has changed communication staffers since last year, hiring a number of former television journalists including Theresa Marchetta.