A recall effort to unseat Crawford mayor Wanda Gofforth failed after the votes were tallied Tuesday, Feb. 7. More than 55 percent of the voters were against the recall effort. The tally was 99 against the recall and 79 in favor.
"It's over!" Gofforth said following the election. "Now we can just move on to more positive and productive things."
Of the 271 active voters in Crawford, 66 percent, or 178 people, cast ballots in the recall. That is more people than voted in the April 2016 election when Mayor Gofforth was initially seated. In 2016, 61 percent of the 228 active voters cast a ballot. Rene Loy, elections clerk for Delta County, said the spike was likely due to more voter registrations for the presidential election.
When Gofforth was elected mayor, she edged out Gill Saunders by one vote, 61-60. Saunders was on the recall ballot as the only successor candidate, but the defeat of the recall question made the vote for successor a moot point. Gofforth will serve the remainder of her four-year term.
"I'm disappointed, but I accept the results," Saunders said.
Those demanding the recall of Gofforth charged that she had wasted taxpayers money, failed to follow Colorado Open Meetings statutes, and had exceeded her authority as Crawford mayor. The mayor defended her actions with citations of Colorado law, which "mandates that the municipality defend and pay all attorney fees when a public employee is involved in any legal actions that happen at work." She called the violation of Colorado Open Meetings law groundless.
Opponents to the mayor rallied around the fallout of an incident last summer when the town clerk sought a restraining order on a Crawford resident after she felt threatened during a confrontation at town hall. The mayor contacted each trustee by phone seeking consent to join in the action and involve the town's attorney. The complaint was ultimately rejected by the court.
Efforts to open the community to marijuana sales are also part of the discord within the community. The mayor and much of the town council are opposed to allowing the sale of recreational or medicinal marijuana. The citizens have also voted against such activity when the question has appeared on the municipal ballot.
Paonia town trustees voted at the Feb. 14 board meeting to table a resolution to participate in the statewide Space to Create. The issue will be included in the Feb. 28 agenda.