by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- At its July 19 meeting, the La Veta Town Board considered a brief email of resignation from Trustee Dawn Blanken. When Mayor Don Keairns said no reason was given, Trustee Dale Davis replied, “I would have thought you, as Mayor, would have called and asked her what her reason was.” The motion by Mayor Pro-tem Larry Klinke to accept the resignation failed on a vote of 3 to 3, with Trustee Jim Fowler saying he thought the Board should have a signed letter rather than an email. Klinke said, “I would think it is only a formality to formally accept the resignation.” Marion Jean Keffeler offered the Board a letter from Blanken’s attorney as proof that she has resigned. Trustee Laurie Erwin asked, “If we can’t get ahold of her, would we hold her position open indefinitely until we get something signed from her?” The Mayor said the matter will be addressed at the next meeting.
Also at the meeting, which was clerked by CJ Smith, a resignation letter from Nancy Culbreath was read by the Mayor, who added, “We thank her for her service to the community.” Culbreath requested to be released from the two-week advance notice, citing personal reasons, but Klinke said he was not in favor of that. Mayor Keairns clarified that Culbreath could come back for two to three days and help train her replacement. Trustee Erwin moved to accept the resignation as of July 20 “with regret,” adding, “Nancy has been a good employee.” Trustee Dale Davis asked the Mayor, “Can you tell me why Nancy’s leaving? What’s happening that we might need to correct.” Keairns replied, “I think there was too much stress . . . I think the recall might have had a lot to do with it.” Then Davis commented, “I think Nancy has been a very dedicated employee, and I think a lot of people are going to miss her.” His statement received an ovation from the audience. The resignation was accepted on a vote of 4-2. Keairns said, “I would like to thank her for helping me through my first year as Mayor.” Trustee Tracy Webb added, “We owe them a debt of gratitude. It’s very sad, and it’s a loss.”
The Mayor then read a resignation letter from CJ Smith stating that her last day with the Town will be July 29. Trustee Erwin said, “CJ is one of the best town employees we ever had. She’s going to be missed.” Then to Smith she said, “I hate to see you leave – you’re a good employee.” Trustee Davis said, “This town is going to be in a real hurt because of losing these administrative employees.” The resignation was accepted on vote of 4-2.
Regarding the resignations, Mayor Kearins told the Board, “We have a short fuse here to make some decisions. I’d like to come up with a scenario to get us over the hump here in the interim.” However, rather than discuss the situation in open session, the Board scheduled a personnel meeting for July 25 at 6:00 pm.
Marshal Baumgarner told the Board that the new Deputy Marshal has delayed his start date by two weeks because of relocation issues. He is expected to start around the end of the first week of August.
San Isabel Electric sent the Board a letter of endorsement for the Blanca Telephone Company’s fiber optic project through La Veta. Trustee Erwin reviewed the statute about public utilities and told the Board, “They can do what they want,” adding that, by bringing the plans and maps to the Town . . . “it is more of a courtesy. We can’t stop them from coming through.” Wehe told the Board, “I’m willing to work with the Town. I’d love to have your permission so we can work together.”
The Board approved an expenditure of up to $1,000 so the Francisco Fort Museum Board can buy a point-of-sale cash register system for the museum gift shop to address security issues and the need for inventory management. The Board also approved $500 for the Town’s Water Engineer to review the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District Substitute Water Supply Plan to check the evaporation calculations.
Klinke told the audience that consultant Leroy Cruz is studying the Town’s water rates and will present his recommendations in about a month. After that there will be a public meeting. Mayor Keairns said he had consulted Rob Saint Peter about the Town’s water supply, and he still feels there is still no need for water restrictions. On the subject, Trustee Davis said there have been phone calls alerting him that La Veta water is being hauled to Navajo subdivision and other locations. Mayor Keairns read Resolution 8-02, passed in 2002, which states: “Water shall solely be used at the property where the service is provided by connection to the Town’s municipal water supply and may not be transported by any means for use at another location.”