Dacono Mayor Adam Morehead will call for an official investigation of former city manager A.J. Euckert’s termination, he told Yellow Scene ahead of Monday’s city council meeting.
The investigation will seek to determine whether any of the four councilmembers who voted to remove Euckert violated the city’s rules of procedure, Morehead said. A couple of rules that could be in play include a requirement for council members to exercise their responsibilities collectively rather than individually and a rule that requires city councilors to check with the mayor before making an official statement to an outside entity.
Morehead told YS that he is also “concerned about open meetings law violations” regarding Euckert’s termination and “the liability that [Dacono] may incur because of that.”
Euckert was terminated on February 13 during a city council meeting where he received an award from Morehead recognizing his more than 20 years of service to the city. Mayor pro-tem Kathryn Wittman put forth the motion to remove Euckert as the meeting came to an end. The move earned the support of councilmembers Jim Turini, Danny Long, and Jackie Thomas.
City Attorney Kathleen Kelly, , an attorney with the municipal law firm Kelly P.C. in Denver, tried to encourage the council to discuss the motion. However, Long shot down Kelly’s advice and asked for a vote.
Morehead said he was “stunned” when the councilmembers approved the motion to remove Euckert, which was effective immediately.
“There wasn’t much I could do,” Morehead said, adding that the councilmembers also turned down his request to move the meeting into an executive session so they could discuss the matter privately.
In the wake of Euckert’s firing, Kelly submitted a 60-day notice of her intent to step down as Dacono’s city attorney. Morehead told YS that some city department leaders were unnerved by Euckert’s firing too.
Under Colorado law, state and local government agencies are required to discuss official matters in public where it can be scrutinized. In essence, the law is designed to prevent lawmakers from conducting their business in secret back room deals.
“It’s clear that there are members of council who are not being completely transparent with the rest of city council and the public,” Morehead said. “The public deserves to know why our city manager was terminated. There should always be discussion and transparency around these issues.”