Recall election date set for Barrentine

Sept. 18 will be deadline to vote on possible removal of District 3 councilmember

Posted 7/23/18

The effort to recall Englewood City Councilmember Laurett Barrentine — an effort initiated by four District 3 residents including two former Englewood mayors — will culminate in an election on …

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Recall election date set for Barrentine

Sept. 18 will be deadline to vote on possible removal of District 3 councilmember

Posted

The effort to recall Englewood City Councilmember Laurett Barrentine — an effort initiated by four District 3 residents including two former Englewood mayors — will culminate in an election on Sept. 18 to decide whether she keeps her seat.

A petition circulated among residents of District 3 was filed July 3 and garnered 424 verified names, clearing the threshold by about 60 required signatures, according to the city clerk. District 3 includes roughly the southeast and middle parts of Englewood.

Former Mayors Randy Penn, who served from 2011-15, and Jim Woodward, who served from 2007-11, signed the affidavit to request the petition. The document accuses Barrentine, who was elected in 2015, of “bullying and unwarranted threats to fire City employees” and of “regular distortion of facts and outright lies.”

Barrentine has said that the group's grievances are vague, adding that she's “offended” by the idea that staff needs to be protected from council.

“It's just sad, all of this trying to stir the pot,” she said previously. I “think they're disappointed that council is getting along so well.”

At its meeting July 16, city council set the election date, which is required by law to fall between 60 and 120 days after a valid recall petition is filed. Arapahoe County, which will assist the city with the election, preferred earlier rather than later, according to Stephanie Carlile, city clerk.

Barrentine struck a favorable tone toward city staff during the discussion on setting the election date.

“I would agree — the sooner, the better, and I think 60 days is more than enough time,” Barrentine said. The council should “do what helps our staff and takes the pressure off them."

“I'm ready,” she added. In a previous interview, Barrentine said the recall effort is a positive chance to discuss issues in the city.

Before the vote to set the election date, Mayor Linda Olson said a clause in Article 5 of Englewood's Home Rule Charter — the city's underlying legal document — requires that Barrentine not be allowed to vote on setting the date. The clause says councilmembers “shall be excused from voting on matters involving the consideration of (their) own official conduct or when (their) personal or financial interest is involved.”

Barrentine, a councilmember who typically advocates for strict adherence to the wording of laws and procedures, asserted she would vote anyway. Dugan Comer, the deputy city attorney, told the council that the decision to recuse oneself from voting is up to the councilmember.

Olson asked the rest of the council if it would like to suspend the charter rule for the vote, and Councilmember Dave Cuesta said the issue comes down to what qualifies as a “personal interest” under the law. Cuesta, Councilmember Amy Martinez and Mayor Pro Tem Rita Russell said they did not object to Barrentine voting. Barrentine had said she'd go with what council prefers as to the election date; Martinez said allowing her to vote would not change the outcome.

“I'm not sure why we're wasting all this time,” Russell said.

All six present councilmembers — Councilmember Cheryl Wink was absent — voted for the Sept. 18 date.

The election will cost the city about $13,000, including Arapahoe County's fees, Carlile said. The District 1 vacancy election in May, which elected Councilmember Othoniel Sierra to former Mayor Joe Jefferson's old seat, cost about $11,000, including the county's fees.

The election will be open to District 3 voters and conducted by mail ballots, which must be received by the city by 7 p.m. Sept. 18. Absentee ballots must be mailed by Sept. 18 but are allowed extra time to be received by Sept. 26. If the majority votes for the recall, Barrentine's seat will be vacant on Sept. 27, Carlile said.

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