Political gridlock in Monument leaves crucial positions unfilled

Posted at 11:08 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 01:08:21-04

A bitter division among members of the Town of Monument Board of Trustees has left three crucial town positions unfilled, with no time frame or clear plan in place for replacing them.

The town’s clerk, attorney, and treasurer lost their jobs last week when three of the six town Trustees failed to show for two special meetings in which votes would have been held whether or not to reappoint them prior to the expiration of their appointed term.  In the absence of a quorum, no official meeting could be conducted, and since the employees’ appointed terms expired, they could no longer serve in their positions.

Monday at the town’s regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting, the Trustees absent from last week’s special meetings, Greg Coopman, Laurie Clark, and Jeffrey Borstein, were present.  Among the agenda items was the appointment of a new Trustee to fill the position vacated by Don Wilson, who was elected mayor.  Four applicants submitted their names for consideration for appointment to the position by the current board members, however one withdrew from consideration minutes before the meeting began.  Of the remaining three applicants, one was nominated for consideration, but the board split 3-3 on whether to appoint the applicant so the motion failed.  Then, no board member nominated either of the remaining two applicants, meaning the position will be left open until a special election to determine a replacement.

"It’s unfortunate that, obviously, this board is completely split right now in regard to moving forward and working to make progress for the town," said Mayor Pro-Tem Kelly Elliott.  Frustrated citizens lambasted the board members for its inability to come to agreement on virtually anything.  Although the Trustees were not obligated to respond to citizens during the public comment period, Coopman did speak to News 5 afterward, explaining what had not been declared publicly regarding the non-reappointment of the three town employees.  "I personally don’t feel that at least two of those individuals were within the best interest of this community as far as the health, safety, and ability of this community to prosper moving forward," Coopman said.

Further complicating the situation is that the ousted treasurer, Pamela Smith, also serves as the interim Town Manager while the current Town Manager remains on administrative leave pending an investigation into inappropriate workplace behavior.

The Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet again in two weeks on June 4.