Brighton City Council narrowly voted Tuesday night to fire its city manager.
Tuesday's meeting was full of residents who argued against permanently removing city manager Philip Rodriguez. A week ago, council members put Rodriguez on administrative leave in front of a packed special session.
According to Council Member Matt Johnston, the controversy began after Rodriguez wanted to investigate what he said was $70 million in utility fee overcharges.
Johnston said at the meeting last week that the fund was intended for special water projects, several of which were left incomplete. Johnston accused the city of price gouging water rates by slowly and systematically increasing rates.
He also accused the council members who were in favor of suspending Rodriguez of illegally setting up their votes ahead of time in meetings that should have been open to the public. Johnston and some residents have called for recalls.
Those opposed to the move said members of council want to fire Rodriquez in retaliation for his wish to investigate the $70 million dollars.
Mayor Ken Kreutzer called the matter a personnel issue. He was not more specific. Council members in favor of the move said they had lost faith in Rodriguez's ability to manage the city.
Council Member Greg Mills made a motion to table the issue until an audit of the excess money was complete, but the measure failed 5-4 along the same lines as the successful vote to fire Rodriguez.
9News reports a movement to recall Kreutzer is underway.