Leonard Herzog said he's not sure where the stack of papers came from, but he doesn't mind that it's there.
Herzog is co-owner of Oak Creek's Super Select market, which - like the Colorado Bar & Grill across the street - is as much a community gathering place for the small Routt County town as it is a place of business.
The market also is a local forum.
Monday afternoon, the stack of papers by Herzog's cash register contained 85 signatures in support of Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman, the embattled present, former, or temporarily-on-leave mayor - depending on whom you ask - who resigned in October but has recently asked the Oak Creek Town Board if she can have her job back.
Just about everybody in town has an opinion about Rodeman. But not everyone will say it publicly, especially to a reporter carrying a big white notebook. Some people simply sign their name after buying eggs or a carton of milk.
"It showed up one day, and it has been there since," Herzog said about the petition. "I don't have a problem using our store in that way, if it's limited - there's not many places in Oak Creek where people can express themselves."
Beginning in April of 2002, citizens of Oak Creek have elected Rodeman three times to lead the town's government. She resigned in October amid questions about over-stepping her duties as mayor, not listening to co-workers and exacerbating the town's precarious financial position. Rodeman also reported "untruthful" hostilities from town staff.
When Rodeman reversed her resignation to the Town Board, some Oak Creek residents speculated that because the Town Board never publicly accepted her resignation, Rodeman still is their mayor.
Regardless, the Town Board will name a mayor from a pool of what is now four applicants, including Rodeman, during a special meeting Nov. 28.
"She did a good job (as mayor), but she over-extended her power, which she didn't have in the first place," Oak Creek resident Larry "L.A." Anderson said Monday at the Black Mountain Tavern on Sharp Avenue. "She thought the town was hers, and that's not the way things are here. She got some things done, but she stepped on a few toes."
Anderson has had a front-row seat for Cargo-gate. He helped make CDs of the Town Board's four-hour, closed-door conversation that Rodeman said led to her decision to resign.
After eight years living in Oak Creek, Anderson is still a newcomer by Routt County standards. But he has been around long enough to compare mayors.
"The last mayor didn't do half of what Cargo did," Anderson said. "She always tried to inspire the town."
Oak Creek residents have seen Rodeman take on small tasks, such as painting yellow lines on curbs at the town's gas station. They've seen her accomplish large tasks, such as securing $3.2 million in grants and loans to fund construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and replacement sewer pipes.
But during the years, they've also seen Rodeman cut corners, such as beginning construction of an ice rink without finalizing a building permit and eliminating the town manager position - only to take on many of the duties herself, eventually asking the Town Board for a pay raise as a result.
Herzog shrugged off the negatives Monday.
"You're going to have some gripes, no matter who it is," Herzog said. "I'm sure if (former New York City Mayor Rudy) Giuliani came in, he'd get some votes, but there's no perfect mayor."
Rodeman soon will begin a new job in McCoy, working in an administrative capacity for Freedom Sewer & Drain. She said Tuesday that if the Town Board takes her back as mayor, her role would be significantly reduced.
"They seem to not like having somebody there five days a week," Rodeman said about the board. "They said I was too involved. Now, I'll be a two-night-a-month mayor if they have me back."
Anderson said he would welcome Cargo's return, but acknowledged an inevitable change.
"Once you've gone over the line, things can't reverse themselves," Anderson said. "Yes, she should come back, but something about it is gone. It's sad, but it's gone."