Oak Creek Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman has resigned after more than four years as Oak Creek's mayor.
"I love Oak Creek more than I could possibly put into words, and I am extremely honored and humbled that the beautiful residents of our town had enough confidence and belief in me to elect me three times," Rodeman wrote in her letter of resignation. "The events of the last several weeks have confused and saddened me to a point I have never before experienced."
Rodeman has been under fire since Sept. 25, when the Oak Creek Town Board met in secret session to hear complaints by town employees against the mayor. Rodeman was not allowed to participate in that secret session.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today has challenged the meeting, saying it was an illegal closed session. The Colorado Open Meetings Law prevents public bodies from meeting in secret session to discuss an elected official or a member of the body. The Pilot & Today is seeking a judge's order to release the tapes of that meeting.
Rodeman's attorney, Charles Feldmann, said Monday that it became too difficult for Rodeman to do her job as mayor, and she resigned so "things could move forward in Oak Creek."
"The constant meanness just really cut her the wrong way," Feldmann said.
In her resignation letter, Rodeman said the three newest members of the Town Board have been "downright hateful to me." Board member Angie Kralj KenCairn said on Monday that Rodeman was referring to her, Dave Fisher and Tom Bleuer.
"I can take criticism, but the vicious personal attacks and ungodly attitudes from members that were my friends a few months ago, made me certain that I never wish to sit at the table with them again," Rodeman wrote.
KenCairn said Town Board members were after a better understanding and definitions of the roles of the town's staff. Some challenged Rodeman's dual roles with the town - elected mayor and contracted grant writer. Rodeman also resigned as the town's grant writer.
"Contrary to what anybody thinks, none of the new board members was calling for her resignation," KenCairn said. "I was not calling on her to cease her grant writing responsibilities. I wanted to better define the roles of the staff in Town Hall."
KenCairn said Rodeman's resignation was a surprise, and that she is nervous about the future transition.
"Now we're going to be in the situation where we don't know enough about the projects, and we're going to have to pick up the pieces," KenCairn said.
Mayor Pro-Tem J. Elliott said he was devastated when he learned of Rodeman's resignation Monday evening.
"I don't know what to say," Elliott said. "I'm going to get with her and see what we can do."
Trustee Steve "Spike" Beven said Monday was a very sad day for Oak Creek, one that he had hoped would never come.
"Cargo Rodeman was the overwhelming popularly elected mayor in three elections, and many old-timers say she was the best mayor they had in their lifetime," Beven said.
"She was one of Oak Creek's greatest assets, an inspiration to many, including myself."
Rodeman was first elected in April 2002. She also won contested races in 2004 and earlier this year.
Oak Creek Town Clerk Karen Halterman said the town would advertise for the mayor position. Both current trustees and members of the public can apply. The Town Board will appoint a replacement. If an existing trustee is chosen to become the mayor, the town will then advertise for the vacant trustee position.
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