After months of disagreements with fellow council members, Crawford town trustee Tammy Broughton submitted her resignation letter on Jan. 18. The resignation was effective immediately. Broughton was elected last April to a four-year term and previously served six years on council under then mayor Jim Crook. In April she received more votes than any of the six candidates that ran for the four open seats.
Broughton resigns just ahead of the Feb. 7 recall election against Mayor Wanda Gofforth. Gofforth announced Broughton's resignation at the Jan. 17 council meeting, but said she had not read Broughton's letter. The letter, in part, states that some council members are part of the "good old boy club." She accuses council members of making "defamatory remarks" against her, of "doing everything behind the backs of the townspeople," and of not representing the people.
Broughton, a caregiver, had expressed frustration with fellow trustees over medicinal marijuana and the town's handling of a protection order against Crawford resident Carl Page, which cost the town more than $7,000 in legal fees. She called the case a "personal vendetta against Page."
The town lost the case. Last Wednesday Broughton posted a letter on the Crawford Community Bulletin Board Facebook page, urging residents to vote for the recall. In the more than 1,000-word post Broughton criticizes council for discussing a personnel matter in executive session when she was absent, then intentionally keeping the information from her. She also said the recall has "nothing to do with Cannabis," and that the issue of pot is being used as a distraction from the real issues. Broughton walked out of the Sept. 21 work session after an argument about pot.
The issues are fueling division among the area's citizens. Dueling signs have been posted throughout town. Within the first three days of last week, town residents received three different anonymous mailings addressed to all town postal patrons. Two of the mailings urge voters to vote "no" on the recall and a third urges a "yes" vote.
Crawford Postmaster Mike Osborne said he shut down the public bulletin board after removing literature that didn't meet federal postal regulations. Bulletin boards are provided as a courtesy and strictly forbid "material designed to influence an election," according to the regulations. (Guidelines are available on the USPS website.)
About 25 citizens attended the Jan. 18 council meeting. Some spoke during the public agenda items portion of the meeting. Ralph Clark, a lifelong Crawford resident and father of trustee Cameron Clark, received a standing ovation after reading a seven-point letter in support of the town. He touched on the possibility of a municipal court, which has been a point of contention, and which he said has been talked about for at least 35 years. He said the town needs a court so it "won't become a haven for drug users." He also criticized "those people" who support the recall, saying that they are "not getting their way" and "kicking and screaming and costing the town people more money and wasted time." He accused them of not knowing the difference between "a statue and a statute."
Clark closed his letter by thanking council for doing a thankless job, and Mayor Gofforth "for all you do. And keep up the good work."
Gofforth said council will discuss filling the vacancy at the Feb. 1 meeting. Per town ordinance, trustees may select and appoint a replacement trustee, by a majority vote, a qualified replacement to serve out the remainder of the former trustee's term.
Crawford voters received the recall ballots in the mail last week. The town has arranged for the Delta County Clerk's Office to coordinate the balloting. Residents can verfiy, update their address or register to vote at www.govotecolorado.com up to eight days prior to the Feb. 7 election day and receive a ballot by mail.
The ballot question asks, "Shall Wanda Gofforth be recalled from the office of Mayor of Crawford?" A "yes" vote is in favor of recalling the mayor, and "no" vote is against the recall. Also on the ballot is a single successor candidate -- Gill Saunders -- in the event Gofforth is recalled.