Golden’s first mayor resigned after only serving three months in office because he decided to “go for the gold” in the mountains.
But Goldenites, who numbered about 500 people at the time, didn’t think anything of the resignation — there was a gold rush going on, after all. And John W. Stanton, originally from Missouri, was a gold assayer and prospector.
Golden’s first governmental body took office in April 1860: A mayor, eight councilors, a recorder, a marshal and a treasurer.
Along with Stanton, two councilors also resigned, so a special election took place on June 16, 1860, and Daniel L. McCleery became the new mayor. Joining him were new councilors Isaac E. Hardy, also Golden’s first postmaster, and the Golden Transcript’s founder George West.
Golden’s governmental body has “had its own unique, interesting people,” said historian Richard Gardner. “There’s been good guys, a few bad guys, and all sorts of people in between.”
McCleery is the only city official to be put on trial for attempted murder. The charge was assault with attempt to kill, and it stemmed from some sort of ranching conflict. Whether guilty or not, he got away with it because of a hung jury, Gardner said.
Another colorful character to serve Golden was Francis Everett, who killed himself while in office in 1884. Everett was a banker, but lost all of his bank’s money in the Valley Smelting Works, which was built in 1879 to meet the growing need for ore processing, where Everett served as treasurer. He shot himself before his affiliation with the scandal was made public.
Then there was Andrew Holmes, who served as supervisor of streets but was elected to serve Ward 3 in 1882. Holmes submitted his Oath of Office in writing for Ward 3, but for some unknown reason, the railroad engineer never made it to a single meeting.
Golden’s governmental body has been an “evolving creature over time,” Gardner said.
In 1871, a citizen’s petition led to the creation of a town government that existed of a board of trustees that elected the mayor among themselves and called the position president. On April 8, 1879, the city government went back to its original form of one mayor and eight councilors. For the first time, the councilors were elected to serve four wards. In 1969, half of the ward seats were eliminated, and the existing system was created — two districts comprised of two wards.
On Oct. 11, 1947, a city manager was hired for the first time — a position that is held today by Jason Slowinski, who took over the position when Mike Bestor retired after holding the position since 1993.
With the new city manager position in 1947, the mayor seat was abolished, and the person holding that position was once again elected by the council members. It wasn’t until Nov. 6, 2001, that a voter-elected mayor came back. The people voted 3,014 to 1,553 in favor of restoring it.
Golden has had 47 mayors through the years. The longest serving mayor was Elbert Jones, with six nonconsecutive terms, from 1925 to 1928 and from 1931 to 1939.
Golden’s first female mayor is Ruth Maurer, who served two terms as mayor from 1982 to 1986.
Golden’s current mayor, Marjorie Sloan, has become the longest-serving female on Golden’s city council. There are many positive experiences that arise from being mayor, Sloan said, and added she especially enjoys interacting with the children of the community.
“It’s great that our community is small enough that they have a personal connection with the mayor and city councilors,” she said. “It is an amazing honor to be mayor of Golden — to be charged with working for the good of such a good community.”