Loveland - May 16, 2016

On October 20, 2015, Marcie Erion of Loveland's Economic Development
Department appeared before Loveland's City Council along with Chris Conrardy of
EWI seeking $2 million from the City of Loveland.  Erion appeared in her official
capacity as an employee of the City of Loveland who negotiated a proposed subsidy
agreement while Conrardy on behalf of EWI.

The item was presented as administrative in nature (avoiding requirement for public
hearing) and authorized by "
direction" provided the previous September by
Loveland's City Council to staff during a study session where public comment is not
allowed either.  

Without discussion or even questions from the council, Erion introduced Conrardy
of EWI who thanked the elected officials for providing a commitment of $2 million to
his company (though none had yet confirmed so at least in public).  As described in
the agreement voted on that evening, Loveland is disbursing the funds in the
following schedule to total $2 million by 2017.

$500K 2015 Economic Development Incentive Fund
$500K 2016 Economic Development Incentive Fund
$500K 2016 City Council Special Projects Fund
$500K 2017 City Council Special Projects Fund

By early 2016 rumors began circulating in city hall that Erion had been negotiating a
position with EWI once city funds could be arranged to subsidize their new location
in the former Agilent campus off Taft Ave.  By April, LovelandPolitics received emails
confirming Erion would be moving over to EWI which were officiated by her
resignation letter submitted May 3, 2016.

published a story regarding Erion's transition citing her expertise in
assisting EWI in accumulating $6 million in federal, state and local fund commitments
for the company's new operation in Loveland.  As described by Erion during the
October 20, council meeting, the city's disbursement of funds will be leveraged by
EWI as matching funds required to access the full $6 million from various
governmental sources.

EWI is a non-profit organization that was created by a Governor of Ohio to assist
emerging aerospace start-ups to productize their technologies through advanced
manufacturing techniques.  Reported to have just over 120 employees, EWI seeks to
gain revenue from patents while assisting local firms by spending largely
government dollars EWI obtains through federal, state and now local government

Legal Issues Involved

Despite limiting their own exposure to Colorado's Amendment 41 (see side-bar
information) Loveland, even as a home rule city, still must comply with Colorado
State Statute prohibiting public officials from receiving compensation for performing
an official act especially if it is a quid pro quo event.

Colorado law states,

"A local government official or employee shall not:  “Accept a gift of substantial
value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift of  substantial value:

1)  Which would tend to improperly influence a reasonable person in his
position to depart from the faithful discharge of his public duties; or..."

LovelandPolitics was unable to find any evidence that Erion early disclosed her
employment negotiations with EWI or recused herself from her role in economic
development from which her official actions not only helped her would-be employer
but indeed funded her future salary.
Erion Departure Raises Ethical Questions
Regarding City Employees

Back in 2006 Loveland's City
Council engineered an
end-run around Colorado's
popularly passed Amendment
41 (gift ban on public officials)
by passing its own
purposefully vague ordinance
as allowed to govern instead
of the stricter Amendment 41.  

see (LovelandPolitics stories
from 2006)
Loveland's business development
specialist Marcie Erion negotiated
employment with EWI after
facilitating a city subsidy that will
cover her new salary