Oak Creek mayor under attack | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek mayor under attack

Town Board calls meeting to discuss employee complaints

Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman talks on the phone in her office. Town employees have lodged complaints against Rodeman, prompting the Town Board to hold a special meeting last week.
Courtesy Photo

— Mayor Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman is again under fire in Oak Creek.

Town employees have alleged that Rodeman circumvents staff decisions and does not follow town procedures for complaints against town employees. The allegations prompted a special Town Board meeting last week.

Rodeman said no allegations have been provided to her in writing by any town employee or Town Board member. She said she was first made aware of the problems during the special meeting on Sept. 25.

Rodeman said she found out about the meeting by reading the notice that was posted at Town Hall.

During the meeting, Rodeman said she was asked to recuse herself. She sat in the hallway for three hours while Town Board members Tom Bleuer, Angie Kralj KenCairn, John Crawford and J. Elliott discussed “personnel matters.”

Town Board members Dave Fisher and Steve “Spike” Beven were not present at the meeting because Fisher was out of town and Beven was not able to find a substitute to take his place at his job.

During the Town Board’s regularly scheduled meeting Thursday night, Rodeman asked the Town Board how the board planned to handle the matter. Rodeman said she presented the Town Board with a letter outlining four options. The solutions include doing nothing; providing Rodeman with written complaints from the town employees and participating in individual mediation; moving Rodeman’s mayoral office to her private home; or resigning.

Town Board members tabled taking any action until all board members could be present.

Tuesday, Elliott said the town is experiencing a “personnel issue” and “that the town is trying to figure out the problem and solutions.”

Town Board members KenCairn, Crawford and Bleuer could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Fisher said that because he did not attend either of the meetings last week he was not prepared to comment. Beven said he could not comment.

Some residents questioned the legality of the Town Board’s special meeting on Sept. 25.

The town’s attorney, Bob Weiss, said on Tuesday he had not had any inquiries into the legality of the meeting. “These executive session questions are very complicated. They may seem clear initially, but often times they are not,” he said.

According to Colorado Open Meetings Law, no board or council is allowed to go into a personnel discussion without first asking the involved employee if he or she would like to take part in the discussion and that no discussion may be held regarding an elected official, such as the mayor.

Rodeman confirmed on Tuesday that she was not asked if she wanted to participate in the meeting. If the Town Board violated the Colorado Open Meetings Laws, Rodeman said she is sure it was not “knowingly or intentionally.”

The Steamboat Pilot & Today filed a request on Tuesday to gain access to the recordings of the meeting based on its belief the meeting was held illegally. Denver-based attorney Christopher Beall, whose law firm represents the Steamboat Pilot & Today, said the Town of Oak Creek has three days to respond to the request. If the town denies the request it must provide a written statement and statutory basis for the denial.

Elliott is Oak Creek’s mayor pro-tem and called the Sept. 25 special meeting. He said Tuesday that he does not plan on calling any other special meetings to discuss the matter further before the Town Board’s next scheduled meeting Oct. 12.

– To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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