Transparency missing in trustee appointment

By Carl Page


Dear Editor:

At the Crawford Town Council meeting of July 12, Cameron Clark resigned as a trustee. There was no official publication of this vacancy by the Town of Crawford either in local news media, town website, or town marquee. By Colorado State Statute, municipalities have 60 days to accept and review applicants for vacant council seats. The Aug. 2 Crawford town meeting agenda indicated that a "review of applicants" would be discussed.

One of those applicants at the meeting was former mayor of Crawford for 24 years, Jim Crook. Mayor Wanda Gofforth ruled that he was ineligible because he had not gotten his letter of intent to the council in a timely fashion. Mayor Gofforth then proceeded to present the "only" applicant, Jeff Peed, to the council for a vote to ratify him as the new trustee.

I asked Mayor Gofforth what Colorado State Statute gave her the authority to proceed without having given public notice of a trustee vacancy. Her response was CML, Colorado Municipal League gave her that authority, and that "word of mouth" was sufficient. CML is an association of Colorado municipalities. CML has no regulatory or statutory authority. Jim Brown, Crawford town attorney, was present. When I asked him about the response of the mayor, he said, " I believe there is a 60-day period." He could not cite the Colorado statute.

Mayor Gofforth proceeded with asking for a second to confirm Jeff Peed as the new council trustee. Trustee Hetty Todd provided the second. It was then unanimously ratified by the town council without Mr. Peed being present for questions or further discussion. There is no public record of Mr. Peed as a registered voter in Delta County or of his time as a resident in the Crawford community.

When Mr. Peed takes the oath of office, he will be the second trustee chosen by the council without notification to the public of a trustee vacancy. The Crawford Town Council has now voted itself a favorable majority without the citizens of Crawford being given published knowledge of a trustee vacancy.

In the upcoming replacement of a town council trustee in Carbondale, six applicant profiles were published in the Independent Post.

It is my belief that the manipulation of local politics mirrors those at the national level. If we as citizens cannot hold our local government accountable for manipulating representation, then all of those who sacrificed their lives for belief in democracy died in vain!

Carl Page
Crawford