Crawford mayor survives recall vote
By Randy Sunderland
A recall effort to unseat Crawford mayor Wanda Gofforth failed after the votes were tallied Tuesday, Feb. 7. More than 55 percent of the voters were against the recall effort. The tally was 99 against the recall and 79 in favor.
Gofforth was elected mayor in April 2016, serving a four-year term. She edged out Gil Saunders by one vote -- 61-60. Saunders was on the recall ballot as the only successor candidate, but the defeat of the recall question made the vote for successor a moot point.
Those demanding the recall of Gofforth charged that she had wasted taxpayers money, failed to follow Colorado Open Meetings statutes, and had exceeded her authority as Crawford mayor. The mayor defended her actions with citations of Colorado law, which "mandates that the municipality defend and pay all attorney fees when a public employee is involved in any legal actions that happen at work." She called the violation of Colorado Open Meetings law groundless.
Opponents to the mayor rallied around the fallout of an incident last summer when the town clerk sought a restraining order on a Crawford resident after she felt threatened during a confrontation at town hall. The mayor contacted each trustee by phone seeking consent to join in the action and involve the town's attorney. The complaint was ultimately rejected by the court.
Efforts to open the community to marijuana sales are also part of the discord within the community. The mayor and much of the town council are opposed to allowing the sale of recreational or medicinal marijuana. The citizens have also voted against such activity when the question has appeared on the municipal ballot.
The turmoil also lead to the resignation in January of trustee Tammy Broughton, who was elected in April 2016. In her letter of resignation Broughton was openly critical of actions by the town council and took to social media to urge voters to vote yes on the recall. The Town is seeking letters of interest for her replacement.
Although it remains debatable whether the Sunshine Law was violated, the voters were clear in their support of Mayor Gofforth in the recall election.