Dacono’s city council has invoked its emergency powers to purchase the recall ballots it needs for the special election in June.
The move is the latest example of how Dacono’s government continues to find gridlocks following the abrupt firing of the city’s long-time manager.
Geoff Wilson, a lawyer serving as Dacono’s special counsel for the upcoming recall, sent a memo to city council on April 27 outlining the body’s responsibility to buy the ballots.
“The right of recall is constitutionally reserved…to the citizens of Dacono, who have initiated the process in the City…” the memo reads in part. “These are purchases that the City legally must make, and of course, the City is obliged to pay its bills. It was inconceivable, and thus completely unforeseeable, that Council would fail to fund the exercise by the constituents of their constitutional right to recall.”
During the council’s last meeting on April 24, council members Kathryn Wittman, Danny Long, Jackie Thomas, and Jim Turini walked out of the meeting after Mayor Adam Morehead refused to let them vote on resolutions pertaining to the upcoming recall on June 27.
Dacono’s charter states that elected officials are prohibited from voting on “any question concerning the official’s own conduct.”
Both Thomas and Turini are targets of the upcoming recall. They are two of the four council members who voted to remove former city manager A.J. Euckart in February.
The council also approved a resolution to hire attorneys from Waas Campbell Rivera Johnson and Velasquez, a real estate and construction law firm in Denver, to act as special counsel for an upcoming meeting where Whittman, Thomas, Long, and Turnini could be censured.
Dacono’s rules of procedures require the city council to hold a public hearing to determine whether the four council members violated council rules when they terminated Euckart. The meeting will function similarly to a court hearing whereby the four council members can rebut the allegations against them with testimony and evidence.
Whittman, Thomas, Long, and Turnini also have the right to be represented by an attorney at the meeting. However, they will not be able to vote on the final question of whether they violated council’s rules, according to a memo sent by former city attorney Kathleen Kelly shortly before she resigned.
It also became evident during the meeting that the strife in city hall is still reverberating throughout the community.
One resident called on Turini, Long, Whitman, and Thomas resign because of the way they fired Euckart. A developer told council about how their dysfunction caused their general contractor to quit their job, a move that will delay the project’s delivery.
Another resident implored the council to move past Euckart’s firing and make the city more welcoming to growth and development.
“We need to move forward as a town and get some development in here,” the resident said. “We need to put the drama aside. Show our town some love and work it out.”