Wednesday, October 9, 2002
Steamboat Springs Wednesday was the six-month anniversary of the April 9 election that saw Oak Creek's controversial mayor, Cargo Rodeman, voted into office by a 164-to-81 margin.
Rodeman took office April 11.
Those facts are significant for one reason: Under Colorado state statute, elected officials must be in office for at least six months before the town can hold a recall election.
Since Rodeman took office, her opponents have promised to hold a second election and oust her from office.
But the most vocal of those, 32-year-old Kelly Lipsie, is in the Routt County Jail serving a 60-day sentence for a year-old third-degree assault charge.
Rodeman said Lipsie has never threatened a recall to her face, but he has repeatedly promised to pass a petition for her replacement to media outlets.
"The group that wants her recalled wants to stay anonymous, so they asked me to head up the petition," Lipsie said from jail.
"She's a good lady, but she doesn't belong where she is," he said.
Lipsie will be in jail until Oct. 21.
No Oak Creek residents would admit on the record whether they were pursuing a recall. Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said no one has come into Town Hall asking about proper recall procedures.
"If the recall doesn't happen, I wish Cargo well and hope she can dig the town out of the hole she has put it in," Lipsie said.
Other town residents and Rodeman herself doubt a recall will happen.
"If it does, she'll come through with bigger numbers than the first time," said Charlie Taylor, owner of Dinty Moore's restaurant,
"I think I'm doing a great job," Rodeman said. "Honestly, if (the recall happens) it will blow my mind. I can't work this hard for a town that doesn't love me back."
In the history of Oak Creek, only one mayor Fran Gersic has been recalled.
Gersic is remembered most for an ordinance passed during his tenure that said all residents must own a gun.
The ordinance is no longer in the books.
According to town records, Gersic was recalled Oct. 18, 1983, a year and a half after he was elected because "the mayor and trustees have not taken adequate measures to enforce existing ordinances."
Residents also opposed the circuit rider system of town governance, wherein Oak Creek shared a town manager with neighboring towns, Crawford said.
The entire board was also petitioned for recall at the time with only two members keeping their seats.
Colorado state statutes require that any recall petition state the grounds for recall, Crawford said. The town clerk must approve the petition before it can be circulated. Petitioners must offer a replacement candidate for the office they wish to have vacated.
The number of signatures must equal at least 25 percent of the entire votes cast for all candidates in that office.
"I've haven't figured out exactly how many signatures they will need," Crawford said. "Hopefully, I won't have to."