Dacono’s city council meeting descended into chaos on April 24 over a couple of seemingly simple resolutions to hire a special counsel and conduct the upcoming recall election.
At issue was whether council members Jim Turini and Jackie Thomas, both of whom are subjects of the recall election, could vote on the resolutions.
Dacono’s charter states that elected officials are prohibited from voting on “any question concerning the official’s own conduct.” It also requires the city council to approve ordinances that “make an appropriation” of city funds.
After a brief discussion about the resolutions, Mayor Adam Morehead moved to approve them without Turini and Thomas’ votes, which caused Mayor Pro Tem Kathryn Wittman to storm out of the chambers. Turini and Thomas also left shortly thereafter, which ended the quorum, but not before the council approved a couple of resolutions.
For instance, Dacono approved an approximately $8,400 contract to rent vote-counting equipment and hire Geoff Wilson, an attorney from Wilson Williams, LLP, to provide legal services for the upcoming recall election on June 27.
However, there aren’t any plans to print the recall ballots after council failed to pass a resolution to spend $10,400 with Fort Orange Press, a printing and mailing company out of Albany, New York.
The chaos also stalled a resolution that sought to hire attorneys from Waas Campbell Rivera Johnson and Velasquez, a real estate and construction law firm in Denver, to serve as special counsel to investigate potential procedural violations committed by Wittman, Thomas, Turini, and council member Danny Long when they moved to fire city manager A.J. Euckert in February.
“You’re just trying to roughshod us and make us do want you want and it’s not going to work,” Wittman said during the meeting, referring to Morehead.
Morehead and council member Kevin Plain expressed concerns that Turini and Thomas could effectively stymie the recall election altogether if they were allowed to vote.
“This is just a stall, a pure political stall,” Morehead said during the meeting.
The move comes as Dacono continues its search for a new city attorney. Kathleen Kelly, Dacono’s former city attorney, resigned in February following the surprise termination of Euckert. Kelly’s last day with the city was on April 15. According to city staff, they have since hired a consultant to perform legal work, but that person cannot give legal advice.
Since the move, Euckert’s firing has been the subject of several tense council meetings.
On March 30, the four council members who are under investigation blocked a motion to move into executive session to discuss hiring Geoff Wilson, a municipal lawyer with more than 30 years of experience. In response, Morehead made a lengthy post on Nextdoor saying the move
was “not good governance.”
At the last city council meeting on April 10, Mayor Adam Morehead vetoed the appointment of Scott Oliver, a city attorney candidate who was supported by Wittman, Long, Thomas, and Turini.
The next meeting of the Dacono city council is scheduled for May 8 at 6:00 pm.