Voters Will Decide Whether To Recall Brighton Mayor As Petition Is Verified

August 12, 2019
Brighton City HallBrighton City HallJeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons
Brighton City Hall

Brighton Mayor Ken Kreutzer will likely face a recall election.

The Committee to Recall Brighton Mayor Ken Kreutzer filed its petition with the city Aug. 5 and the city deemed it valid on Monday.

The public’s issue with Kreutzer came to a head when he and some city council members narrowly voted July 16 to fire the Brighton city manager Philip Rodriguez.

Critics said the move was retribution for Rodriguez’s effort to investigate $70 million in utility fee overcharges.

Kreutzer called the matter a personnel issue and did not provide specifics. Council members in favor removing Rodriquez said they had lost faith in his ability to manage the city.

Brighton’s city clerk verified at least the 1,136 signatures needed to get a spot on the Nov. 5 ballot. The committee said they submitted 1,782 signatures.

“The rapid success of this effort and the overwhelming response of the city to this first-ever recall initiative sends a clear message that this mayor has lost the confidence of the people of Brighton and should step down,” said Jeremy Torgerson, a recall committee member, in a news release.

Once the petition is approved by the city clerk, it is submitted to the city council at the next meeting, according to city spokesperson Kristen Chernosky. 

There is also a 15 day protest period. If there is a protest to the ballot question, the issue would be moved to a hearing officer yet to be determined, Chernosky said.

July meetings on the topic were packed with residents who argued against permanently removing Rodriguez. 

According to Council Member Matt Johnston — a no vote for removing Rodriquez — the $70 million fund was intended for special water projects, several of which were left incomplete. The committee accuses the city of price gouging by slowly and systematically increasing water rates.

“Rodriguez was a whistleblower, and the very first thing our mayor tried to do was get rid of him,” the committee wrote on its website. “Marinated in scandal, smug and believing himself untouchable, this mayor has led our city government into a cesspool of accusations, buy-outs for silence, and the bilking of literally tens of millions of dollars from Brighton residents.”

Johnston and some residents in attendance at the council meetings called for recalls not only of Kreutzer but the five city council members who voted in favor of firing Rodriguez.