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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The underbelly of Berthoud politics

Berthoud Mayor-elect discusses resignation

 

Berthoud Welcome

BY PETER R. COWDIN

Guest Columnist

I am writing to thank the citizens of the Berthoud community for the tremendous outpouring of support and gratitude that I received during my campaign to be your next mayor and now, unfortunately, your tremendous concern for my personal well-being.

I sincerely apologize formy sudden departure that may have led to the extra expense of a special election. It was certainly not my intention. However, I owe you a true explanation of the events that led to this issue.

Following the election and after being sworn in, the mayor is immediately required by state statute and town ordinance to make recommendations to the full board to appoint a member to be mayor pro tem, members to positions on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and several other town advisory committees.

In preparing to make my recommendations, I determined my potential pro tem and Planning Commission nominees and then began contacting individual board members to discuss my recommendations and determine the additional positions where they might best serve the community.

The first trustee that I talked to immediately took issue with my recommendations and demanded to be appointed to both the pro tem and Planning Commission positions based on some self-perceived mandate from the people.

Approximately 25 percent of the registered Berthoud voters cast their ballots in this election. For the four open trustee positions, the top vote getter received a little over half of the votes cast. This is approximately 13 percent of the potential votes that were available during this election. In my opinion, 13 percent is not a mandate. It appears to me that the 87 percent of the rest of the community are either fairly happy with the way the town is being run or just too busy or disinterested to take the time to vote. If their candidate was so morally outraged over current events, why did he not oppose me for mayor instead of trustee?

A few days after our conversation, it was brought to my attention that the trustee had immediately started aggressively lobbying the other board members in an attempt to press his demands and undermine my proposed recommendations. Over the course of a very long week, the demanding negotiations with three of the board members, coupled with concern over an unrelated family illness, finally succeeded in triggering an old stress-related heart issue that has not bothered me for several years. While it is not life threatening in itself, it can lead to much more serious problems if not addressed. Realizing I was clearly going to have similar ongoing issues throughout my term in office, and based on my doctor’s previous advice, I chose to submit my resignation out of simple self-preservation.

I have never run from a fight before and I am not running now. I have served in many different capacities in this wonderful community for almost 44 years and I cannot adequately express how deeply, deeply honored I was to be elected your mayor. I was truly looking forward to trying to continue the level of quality, reasoned, leadership you all deserve. This has been a devastating turn of events for me personally and I desperately wish it could have been avoided.

I may not be able to serve as your new mayor, but I have risked my life before for this community and I sincerely promise to remain invested in the process of choosing our next one.

Thank you again for all of your support and concern.

Cowdin was elected mayor of Berthoud in the April 5 election but resigned the position last week before being sworn in.

 

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