'Whistle blower' resigns from Paonia council

By Bill Brunner

Dear Editor:

I have resigned from the Paonia Town Council in protest. I have lost all respect for the majority of the board. They have closed ranks against me for my efforts to confront overt bullying in executive session and our leadership's lack of respect for the Sunshine Laws that citizens depend on for honest government.

It is clear the board's majority was about to use a little known law that allows them to remove an elected official (me) from office by majority vote. They voted to have the town attorney conduct another expensive review of my actions, even though he has already stated I broke no law. The bill for this new witch hunt could easily be between $5,000 and $10,000. (Last month the town's attorney expenses totaled more than $19,000.) A very real part of my decision to resign is to save the taxpayers the useless expense of an investigation when my removal would clearly be a political act.

The investigation is pure theatrics. I am a whistle blower, and they are obsessed with secrecy. The underlying cause of the move to "impeach" me is that I have openly named Mr. Stewart as a participant in meetings with other trustees that should have been publicly noticed and open to the rest of the board. I have stated my opinion that he has acted beyond his ofice by improper participation in an employee complaint. Yet Stewart refused to let a less involved member of the board chair the portion of the meeting which affirmed his attempts to smear me and refused to include a concurrent investigation of my charges against the mayor and other trustees. Even now policies are being formulated that will hamstring a trustee's ability to ask questions or exercise meaningful oversight of town business that the mayor does not want them to see. I can no longer appear to sanction the actions of this board with my presence at the table.

Bill Brunner