GMF board meeting chaotic
Angry and ready for confrontation with the Green Mountain Falls' board of trustees, about 20 citizens showed up at the meeting June 18 to offer support for Police Chief/Marshal Tim Bradley. Rumors had been flying around town, fueled by the thread of comments on Mayor Lorrie Worthey's Facebook page, that the marshal had been canned.
While trustee Howard Price denied that Bradley had been let go, the crowd was ready to do battle over the marshal, due to a leak relayed over Facebook.
“I would like to see the marshal given a one-year contract,” said Billie Harwood, a summer resident who is an active participant in the mayor's Facebook thread, with most of her comments berating the board for their decisions, including its denial of a service dog.
Dick Bratton, former four-time mayor and perennial member of the board, referred to the Facebook comments by a few residents. “There is a persistent rumor that this board is out to get the marshal, to ask him to resign,” he said. “Your timing is really poor. There has been a wall between the citizens and this board, a lack of communication. Our mayor ran on a platform of having better communication with our citizens; it hasn't happened.”
Bratton then took a pot shot at “some members of the board” who, he said, have the ax out for the marshal. “You may have good reasons but you are a total board and employment is the function of the entire board,” he said.
With an ongoing string of burglaries and a few marijuana cultivators in town, in addition to the threat of another fire, Bratton urged the board to retain the marshal.
All comments were followed by raucous hoots, hollers and clapping from the audience.
In a department with only two employees, Lori Van Sant asked what happened to deputies Ken McQueen and Felix Torres. “Why are we getting rid of something we need?” she said.
Joanna Bartko praised Bradley's handling of the recent food drive for victims of the Black Forest Fire as well as the Pony Run at Ute Pass Elementary School.
In a plea for harmony, Jon Harwood intercepted the negativity. “If we could all just behave and get along, make an attempt to see the other side, I'd appreciate it,” he said.
After the public input, Price explained the limits imposed on the board by Robert's Rules, particularly as they relate to the issue of the two deputies. “We as a board cannot discuss that; it is a personnel issue and we will turn that over to the town attorney,” Price said. “It was not this board's decision to dismiss either of the two deputies.”
Bradley agreed. “I am 100 percent behind this; these are issues that can't be discussed,” he said, adding that he is interviewing four possible deputy candidates.
In her usual calm voice trustee Margaret Peterson repeated what she said last month, protesting the verbal “pitchforks” against her and the board, most of them via the thread of comments via Worthey's Facebook page. “I appreciate the comments of tonight; they were constructive but illustrate the point I was making,” she said.
The crowd was in no mood for conciliation, with one asking the marshal if he were asked to resign. “I was not asked to resign; I was asked to find another job,” he said.
Two days later, Price responded to Bradley's outburst. “Bradley's comment was totally and absolutely incorrect,” he said.