News Roundup: June 6, 2023


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May 13, 2023

News Roundup: June 6, 2023

Senior Reporter Jennifer Sobanet Jennifer Sobanet has been named as interim

Senior Reporter

Jennifer Sobanet

Jennifer Sobanet has been named as interim chancellor at UCCS by University of Colorado President Todd Saliman.

She'll assume duties July 1, the same day current Chancellor Dr. Venkat Reddy will step down.

Sobanet's experience includes several degrees and positions in higher education, state government, and the private sector. She most recently served as executive vice chancellor of administration and strategy at the University of Colorado Denver, joining the institution's leadership team in 2016, the CU system said in a release.

During her time at CU Denver, she earned a doctorate in educational equity from the School of Education & Human Development.

"Jennifer's breadth of experience along with her thoughtful approach to leadership, make her an excellent fit as interim chancellor at UCCS," Saliman said in the release. "In my recent visits with campus groups, there were consistent themes pointing to Jennifer's skillset. She is an accomplished strategic thinker with a keen understanding of budgetary priorities and a strong commitment to shared governance. She understands the special relationship between UCCS and the Colorado Springs area and is eager to roll up her sleeves and get to work to advance the campus and community. I couldn't be more pleased to name Jennifer to this position."

Sobanet said she wants to serve the UCCS community. "Whether a former or current member of the military, a member of an underrepresented group, a first-generation student, a researcher with aspirations to solve critical societal problems or a staff member who works day in and day out to meet the needs of our students, all are vital to this campus community," she said in the release. "I believe in the power of higher education to transform lives through social and economic mobility, and UCCS is a pillar for this positive change."

At CU Denver, Sobanet oversaw the administrative and financial strategy of the university and directed the work to incubate, resource, and operationalize the campus’ strategic initiatives. Before joining CU Denver, Sobanet spent nearly a decade in management consulting and corporate finance after serving as an economist and budget analyst in Colorado Gov. Roy Romer's Office of State Planning and Budgeting. She went on to serve as the chief financial officer and vice president of finance and administration at Front Range Community College and the acting executive director and chief operating officer of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Along with a Doctor of Education degree from CU Denver, Sobanet earned a master's degree in international studies, with concentrations in Latin America and Spanish, from the University of Pennsylvania's Lauder Institute and holds an MBA in international financial management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

A national search will be conducted for a permanent chancellor.


22,000 and counting

With two more days to go before the June 8 deadline, the El Paso County Assessor's Office has received 22,000 property value appeals.

This year's reappraisal, based on sales from Jan. 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, pushed values up by 50 percent or even more on some homes.

"We have not seen this amount [of appeals] since the 1980's," Assessor Mark Flutcher says via email. "I was told we had around 35,000 in 1985 and 28,000 in 1989."

He says the number of appeals flowing in has "strained" the server, "but it seems to be handling everything just fine."

The higher values gave rise to Proposition HH, a statewide ballot measure that state lawmakers referred to the November ballot. It would lower the assessment rate and then use money normally earmarked for Taxpayer's Bill of Rights refunds to backfill money to local agencies if needed.

Republicans oppose the measure, saying it would address the rising values for 10 years only and that there are better ways to deal with the issue. Advance Colorado Action is actively campaigning against the measure.

TABOR's author, Douglas Bruce of Colorado Springs, weighs in on the ballot measure and higher property values here, essentially saying that TABOR's provisions will prevent tax bills from soaring.


Closed for a day

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office says all County Motor Vehicle offices, including drivers license services, will be closed on Wednesday, June 7, for an in-service day of training and other work.

All other services are available at the Clerk's main office: recording/marriage licenses, elections, clerk to the Board of County Commissioners.

For vehicle registration renewals, there are 11 Colorado MVExpress self-service kiosk locations including King Soopers and Safeway. Three kiosks are available 24/7.


Lt. Gen. Gregory Guillot

Officer tapped as next NORAD commander

Air & Space Forces magazine reports that President Joe Biden nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot to add a star and succeed Gen. Glen D. VanHerck as head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command headquartered in Colorado Springs.

Guillot is a battle manager by training, the magazine reported, and is currently deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. He led Air Forces Central before taking that role. If confirmed by the Senate, Guillot will succeed VanHerck, who has led NORTHCOM and NORAD since 2020.

Senior Reporter

Pam Zubeck recently reached her 45-year mark as a journalist. She's worked at newspapers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, including at the Indy since 2009. She's known for her dogged pursuit of accountability, no matter where the trail leads, and has investigated crooked public officials in all three states. Two went to jail because of her reporting. Know of an injustice or something shady? Contact Pam at [email protected]

22,000 and counting Closed for a day Officer tapped as next NORAD commander