It was confirmed Thursday morning that the Cedaredge Board of Trustees has had two further resignations: Trustee Heidi Weissner and Trustee Charlie Howe. These resignations are confirmed to be related to the same topic that led to this week’s resignation of Mayor Ray Hanson and Interim Town Administrator David Stahl — a situation involving the golf course and the discipline of a town employee.
According to Town Clerk and Interim Town Administrator Kami Collins, Weissner’s letter of resignation came in Wednesday night and cited personal reasons. On Thursday morning, she received a resignation letter from Howe, which didn’t state a reason.
Both resignations were effective immediately.
According to Collins, the remaining board, which still consists of four trustees after the recent resignations of Weissner, Howe and Hanson, is tasked with appointing a new mayor to fill out Hanson’s term and determining whether the three vacant seats should be filled by appointments to those seats or if they should remain vacant until the election in April.
In the meantime, Weissner responded to inquiries regarding her resignation. Howe was not immediately available for comment.
According to Weissner, accusations that trustees had confronted Stahl about how to handle the discipline of an employee were false.
A letter from Stahl which was addressed to all town staff and the board of trustees was also provided to the press by an anonymous source, which shed light on the situation from Stahl’s vantage point.
According to Weissner, the misunderstandings started with the mayor.
“[Stahl] actually wasn’t confronted by anyone, as we explained,” Weissner said. “There was miscommunication and it’s all on the part of the former mayor, and things were relayed to David [Stahl] inaccurately.”
Weissner stated that, since the rumor is already circulating, she would publicly note that “for the record, not a single trustee made any demands or conditions with regard to hiring or firing any employees. No one on the board made that demand or condition.”
The alleged discussion around an employee’s discipline, however, has been confirmed true, both by Weissner and by Stahl’s letter to the staff. The employee under scrutiny is Cedaredge Golf Pro Ira Kramer, who had a public outburst against Stahl at the Nov. 18 regular board of trustees meeting, which is open to members of the public and streamed over Zoom.
In his letter, Stahl recalled, “Following my Town Administrator report, that included the written comments from all department heads, Ira Kramer requested to address the Trustees. The comments focused on his lack of information regarding the future of the golf course. I responded that if he had attended department head meetings, checked his mailbox in Town Hall, or stopped by my office periodically he would have known my recommendations to the Board of Trustees. He wanted to continue the heated discussion; he initiated, and asked if I would participate. I declined and he left angry.”
“There was conflict between David Stahl and Ira,” Weissner said. “I think that was clearly public because the conflict was on display in a public meeting. Ultimately, the board was asked to make a choice between the two.” She clarified that, the way it was ultimately presented by former Mayor Hanson, Stahl’s contract as interim town administrator would be continued, whereas they would consider discontinuing it if Kramer wasn’t terminated.
“The board was put in a precarious situation and we shouldn’t have been put in that situation, and the mayor was the one who put us in that situation,” Weissner said. She said that the demand to terminate Kramer was given to Stahl as if it was a group decision on the board.
After Hanson’s resignation, community and staff blame came pouring in, directed mainly at Weissner, Howe, Trustee Jim Atkinson and Trustee Richard Udd, according to Weissner. The rumor went out that Hanson had been confronted by at least Weissner, Howe and Atkinson about taking greater control of the golf course, letting Kramer go and forcing Stahl to ensure that would happen.
Attempts to reach either Hanson or Stahl for comment have been unsuccessful, but in alignment with Weissner’s claim, Stahl’s letter does claim Hanson as the relayer of the board’s supposed intent.
First off, after the Nov. 18 meeting involving Kramer’s public outburst, Stahl said he apologized to the mayor for the disruption in the meeting and on Monday, Nov. 22, he offered his resignation, telling the board that they could either accept his resignation or plan an executive session to discuss the personnel matter regarding Kramer’s outburst.
“If the Board of Trustees wanted to accept a resignation rather than proceeding with an executive session, I was prepared to submit my resignation,” Stahl said.
According to Weissner, at least four trustees out of the six requested to Hanson that an executive session be planned. These requests were made during one-on-one phone calls between Hanson and each trustee. Weissner said that Hanson indicatively wanted Kramer to be terminated but that an executive session was still never planned, indicating that the former mayor was aiming to get it done in a more secretive way.
Stahl’s letter addressed this point by stating:
“On Wednesday November 24, 2021, the Mayor polled the Trustees, individually by phone, after the phone poll and on Wednesday the 24th the Mayor told me the majority of the Trustees wanted me to stay and continue working through December, then begin assisting the board in the selection process for a permanent Town Administrator.
“The condition attached to the employment offer was to ‘clean house’ at the golf course and terminate Adam Conway and Ira Kramer. My responsibility is to supervise and discipline employees as warranted and the Board shall not intervene in that process. I will not accept this type of behavior from elected officials.”
“It’s just really a convoluted situation that shouldn’t have gotten this far,” Weissner said. “This all could have been handled in an executive session, which I know at least four trustees requested an executive session.”
In all, Weissner said the whole situation, from her viewpoint, is disheartening, as the rumor spread and accusations from not only residents of Cedaredge but also the staff have been pouring in, directed at herself, Howe, Atkinson and Udd.
Weissner said that she made the decision to step away from her role as town trustee when the situation kept snow-balling. It grew to involve more than just Kramer as Golf Course Superintendent Adam Conway, mentioned in Stahl’s letter, became involved, as did other town staff who believed that multiple trustees had tried to force Stahl’s hand at firing Kramer.
“I had high hopes for things we should accomplish in this town,” Weissner said. Regarding the recent situation, however, she said, “I really feel like there’s a weight that’s been lifted from my shoulders.”
Weissner said she plans to continue finding ways to benefit the town in any way she can by continuing her involvement with the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center and other local nonprofits while she enjoys the great outdoors of the area in her free time.
Going forward, the remainder of the Cedaredge Board of Trustees has the option to either leave the vacancies vacant until the municipal election in April or to appoint people to those vacancies to fill out the remainder of each previous trustee’s term.
Two vacancies stand in the wake of Weissner and Howe’s resignations, but as an existing trustee will be appointed as the new mayor on Dec. 9, a third trustee vacancy will open up, leaving a mayor and three out of six trustees. Those vacancies can either be filled or not filled before the election.
The terms of all three current vacancies on the board run through the election of April 2024. Appointed trustees take the remainder of the vacated trustees’ remaining term.
The board plans to make a decision on how to proceed with the vacancies at its Dec. 9 board of trustees meeting.
Lucas Vader is a staff writer for the Delta County Independent. Follow him on Twitter, @lucasrvader.