It isn’t unusual for some people to resign when a new boss comes on board. In fact, it’s fairly commonplace — especially in government, when the newly elected officials may have different ideas than those they will now be overseeing. What is unusual is for an entire police force to turn in their badges at the same time over the results of an election. But that’s exactly what occurred in the town of Green Mountain Falls in central Colorado.
To be fair, it isn’t like it was a mass resignation of hundreds of cops. In fact, it was only four people. Still, it shows their solidarity in opposing the new mayor, Jane Newberry, as she took office this week. What isn’t immediately clear is why they all left office, as Newberry promised job security and was planning to reappoint Timothy Bradley to his position as Marshal.
“…I don’t know why because during the entire election, I said — and I firmly mean it — that he had a job,” Newberry said. “ We were going to reappoint him to the same position on Tuesday night, the same night that I was sworn in.”
For the time being, Green Mountain Falls’ police duties will be divided by the El Paso County Sheriff Department and the Teller County Sheriff Department as the town straddles the two. A long term solution has not been decided as of yet, but it is possible that the town of fewer than 700 people may move toward a private security company — something they have explored in the past.
In 2013, the Board of Trustees had considered eliminating the position of town marshal entirely in favor of privatization, and they held discussions without including then-mayor Lorrie Worthey. That plan fell through, but it was hardly the most contentious issue during Worthey’s tenure in office.
In fact, her two terms as mayor were incredibly divisive and allegations of wrongdoing flew both toward her and her opponents. This led to the town becoming increasingly polarized and her reelection to a second term in 2014 only served to further inflame passions. When she sought her third term this year, Newberry faced off with her in a rematch of the 2014 contest, vowing to clean up the town’s finances.
Disputes over what money should come into the town’s budget, and where it should be spent, have been the key sticking points. Accounting irregularities have also plagued the city, adding to speculation about wrongdoing. The discussions to replace the police department with a private security firm in 2013 were the result of these arguments and were viewed as a partial solution.
With all of that said, it appears that Bradley was firmly in Worthey’s camp, hence his resignation once she left office, and his three reserve officers following suit were a sign of solidarity. However, this has only added to further concerns about the budgetary issues in the town, as the Board gave Bradley a nice fat $12,000 for his resignation.
“It’s a curious thing,” said Newberry. “Part of it was vacation pay, part of it was sick pay, and part of it was overtime pay. But if you’re salaried you don’t usually get that.”