On Jan. 8, Crawford town clerk Jackie Savage notified the town council she is submitting notice of her resignation. She will remain on the job for 90 more days so the council can find a new town clerk.
Savage told the council in her resignation letter that the recall is against her personal beliefs. She told Jay Ziegler that a recall "only results in harm to the community rather than what he hopes to achieve." According to Savage, Ziegler said he wants the mayor recalled because he believes that the town would then approve retail sales of recreational marijuana.
In an email to the council, Savage wrote that on Sept. 30, Ziegler told her it would be "easier to remove solid no votes on the council." Savage suggested he should put a ballot question about legalizing sale of marijuana within town limits on the ballot in November 2014. "He told me he feared a majority vote would not prevail in his favor," Savage wrote to the council on Jan. 18.
Savage asked the council to remove her as the hearing officer for any protest hearing regarding the recall petition. They agreed. She stated her reason for not wanting to be the clerk at the hearing: "I am unable to abide by a law that requires no proof of allegations of misconduct. The law assumes guilt rather than innocence. I am unable to abide by a law that forbids me from looking at improper motive when judging sufficiency."
The council members expressed dismay that Savage was resigning as town clerk. "It has nothing to do with this council because this is an outstanding council. I think we have an outstanding mayor," Savage said. "I think you all try ... your very best to do what is right for the people." She continued, "It puts the morale down for the town staff and it puts the morale down on the council. I would rather see the town come together and work on solutions, but it doesn't seem to go that way."
About the allegations on the recall petition she said, "There is no requirement in the law that says they have to be true ... I don't believe the law should assume guilt rather than innocence. Our worst criminal offenders are always assumed innocent until proven guilty. So a law that requires [Mayor Steckel] to prove her innocence I think is wrong."
Should Mayor Steckel incur legal fees in fighting the recall and she is not recalled, the Town of Crawford, not the petitioners, will have to pay her legal fees. The Town of Crawford would also have to pay for the recall election if there are enough signatures on the petition.
Mayor Steckel was made aware of the recall petition on Tuesday, Jan. 7 and posted a letter to the residents of Crawford. Her letter can be read in this week's Delta County Independent on page A2. Steckel answers the allegations by stating that she has never voted on any issue. Only the council votes. She votes as mayor only if there is a tie vote. So far there has not been a tie. She has not voted on "spending, utilizing, or misusing government resources."
She believes that the petitioners are referring to her comments about the North Fork Alternative Plan when they allege that she misrepresented board positions. She said the town council voted to protect the source water, sewer lagoons and school and wrote a letter to the Bureau of Land Management, but never a letter of support for the entire North Fork Alternative Plan. That alternative plan is for a new Resource Management Plan being revised by the BLM.
Mayor Steckel said she follows "Robert's Rules of Order" in how she conducts meetings.
Trustee Wanda Gofforth said, "I think you explained this away very well. There are no infractions."
Trustee James Sorensen, who had written a Letter to the Editor expressing his support of the North Fork Alternative Plan and who had voted in favor of a letter of support from the town, told Mayor Steckel, "It wasn't to belittle your reaction. We discussed it at the last meeting. It wasn't to make you look bad or disagree with you."
Mayor Steckel responded, "I don't know why these allegations are against me, but it takes small people to want to get rid of people."
Sorensen added, "I think that we disagree many times but that is what makes us a good council and gives us an opportunity to really see things from different angles. I come in here thinking one thing, and then I listen to [what] everyone of you have said and think, 'That is a great idea.' I hadn't thought of that."
Former mayor Jim Crook said he is having difficulty telling the difference between a town council meeting and a work session. He gave Savage a copy of a Crawford ordinance that states "the mayor has as much responsibility to vote as any council person does."
Savage said the town attorney had advised the council that the mayor could decide whether she would vote on all motions or be a non-voting mayor who only votes when there is a tie. Crook continued to disagree, but the town clerk said the ordinance he had a copy of was no longer in the town's book of code. The Colorado Municipal League also advised the town the mayor can be a voting or non-voting mayor.blog comments powered by Disqus