Dacono has yet to hire a new city manager and attorney despite having open job listing for more than a month, and it’s starting to get under Mayor Adam Morehead’s skin.
City council members blocked a motion to move the body into an executive session during a special meeting on March 30 that would have allowed council to discuss hiring interim replacements. The four members who voted against the motion were the same ones who voted to oust former city manager A.J. Euckert on February 13—Kathryn Wittman, Jim Turini, Danny Long, and Jackie Thomas. It is the third time this coalition of council members has blocked the motion and comes just a week after the four members agreed to begin discussing candidates.
“I don’t understand why Council members Wittman, Long, Turini, and Thomas refuse to discuss an interim city manager,” Morehead posted on NextDoor following the meeting. “They refused to appoint an interim city attorney with an impeccable record of experience as a municipal attorney and willingness to mitigate the damage that has been done. Without a city attorney, no business can move forward. If Dacono wants business as these council members claim, this is NOT how you accomplish that.”
Euckert’s termination on February 13 has raised a host of questions about how Dacono is governed. Emails obtained by Yellow Scene Magazine show that the four council members who voted to remove Euckert were unhappy with his salary and said he did not support projects that would help Dacono attract more businesses.
The fallout from Euckert’s firing has been wide-reaching, Morehead said. Dacono has had two job postings up for the city manager and attorney positions for more than three weeks. However, the has received no applications for the city attorney role and has been unable to discuss the five applications it has received for the city manager role.
Kathleen Kelly, Dacono’s outgoing city attorney, urged the body to enter executive session to discuss filling her position once she leaves on April 15. Kelly submitted her resignation following Euckert’s termination and gave Dacono 60 days to find a replacement.
“The city absolutely needs a city attorney before that time,” Kelly said. “The sooner [council] acts, the better. A smooth transition is important.”
Kelly added that two people have applied to become Dacono’s next city attorney. One of them is Geoff Wilson, who serves as the city attorney for Woodland Park and as the deputy city attorney for Salida and Fort Morgan. Another person named Scott Oliver sent a letter of interest about the position, but did not send a resume or application, Kelly said.
“We need to appoint someone, and no one comes with better credentials than Mr. Wilson,” council member Kevin Plain said during the special meeting.
Wittman said it would be “unfair” for the council to move into executive session to discuss hiring Wilson for the job, even though Oliver did not attend the special meeting.
The comment prompted Plain to ask why the city should wait for Oliver when Wilson was in attendance and was ready to be interviewed.
Following the meeting, Wilson withdrew his name for consideration. Morehead said Wilson withdrew because the four council members “do not listen to legal advice.”
“This is not good governance,” Morehead said. “Our residents deserve to know why they continually slam on the brakes of progress and improvements.”