Crawford citizens are right to demand openness

By Bill Brunner


Dear Editor:

Congratulations to those in Crawford seeking openness from their local government. My condolences to Tammy Broughton for her decision to resign. There is a similar situation here in Paonia, and I understand her frustration with an administration that goes beyond the law to manipulate the decision-making process to achieve its predetermined ends. It is a common folly for small town mayors to act above their station. As long as they have a majority of the board in their corner the only recourse is public scrutiny and the recall process.

It is very difficult to convey to voters the significance of the tactics employed on a daily basis. Rather than acting to run fair and open meetings where all sides of issues can be presented, mayors turn into partisan warriors, taking every advantage to achieve their personal agendas. Ms. Gofforth seems to feel political backing is better than being within the law. Maybe it is, but the powers of mayor in Colorado are intentionally very limited. The only automatic power granted to a small town mayor by Colorado law is the power to preside over meetings. Any authority to enter into lawsuits, negotiations, seek restraining orders, spend town money or just about anything else must exist in Crawford's ordinances or be created case by case by a vote of the board. Otherwise, those powers do not exist. Actions authorized in secret are void.

Again, I applaud the citizens of Crawford with the courage to kick and fuss. It's not you running up the bill, it's the people who condone back room government that have forced your response in an attempt to secure your right to equal representation and equal protection under the law. You are living democracy. Crawford is faced with a tough decision. Will it be a town proudly upholding everyone's rights and the rule of law, especially for those in the minority?

Bill Brunner
Paonia