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As the mayor of Rangely, I feel it necessary to help our citizens interpret the presentation of a very biased and slanted article presented in last week’s Herald Times covering the municipal election process deficiencies in 2012. Those procedural deficiencies were largely due to the poor organization and scheduling problems emanating from the then election official, Christine Brasfield. It seemed that if Mr. Gutierrez would have wanted a complete understanding of these deficiencies before printing only accusations, biased quotes and innuendos mixed with some factual information, he might have contacted members of the town council and/or myself, as we chose to publicize this information in a public forum during our December town council meeting. As a key component of good journalistic integrity, when trying to understand the actions taken by council to remedy any shortfall in our election process, I would have thought Mr. Gutierrez might have questioned members of the town council and/or current mayor, but it appears his motives were something different.
The outcome of the prosecutor’s investigation demonstrated that the procedural deficiencies of the election process as directed by then town clerk/election official Christine Brasfield, did not taint the election results. The investigation did require that the town council consent to requiring that the town adhere to improvements that conform to the Colorado statutes and this was done by resolution in a public meeting in December 2012.
Mr. Gutierrez cited an accusation made by Darlene Feller about the conduct of the town manager’s wife as she assisted the election official with ballot verification and receipt on a day when Chris Brasfield was out of the office along with other key staff members. Office staff had used Colleen in this capacity in prior elections and Chris Brasfield had earlier asked Colleen to assist with this election as well as many other projects during the last few years. The article initially accuses the town manager’s wife of ballot tampering and destruction of ballots which the DA’s investigation demonstrated was not the case, except for return-to-sender ballots ordered to be destroyed by then town clerk Christine Brasfield five months earlier than the state retention schedule allows. The article tries to substantiate the accusation by exclusively quoting Darlene Feller and Paula Davis, persons with close personal ties to Christine Brasfield.
The town manager’s wife has faithfully volunteered and served our community at the request of town clerk Christine Brasfield and the other town officials for many years. Colleen Brixius finds herself dealing with a set of circumstances beyond her control.
In my humble opinion the article is poorly written and presented an election issue in a way that was wholly meant to lead the reader in one direction and offered no other information. I personally am very disappointed in the biased message intended to tarnish and deceive.