Editorial: Basalt should put town before egos
Most observers would agree that Basalt politics is in a bona fide mess right now.
As bleak as it seems, we believe there is a path to get back on track before an all-out civil war chews up the next three months or longer and creates even deeper wounds. An observer from afar, but with close ties to the town, noted over the weekend that Basalt is gripped in a lot of “needless chaos.”
Town Manager Mike Scanlon submitted what can be considered a conditional resignation Friday. He informed the town that he was terminating his contract and wanted 12 months of severance. However, if the severance isn’t awarded, he wanted to reserve the right to withdraw his termination.
Both Scanlon and the Town Council have hired Denver attorneys who specialize in municipal law and employment. We hope the end of this saga isn’t negotiated in some impersonal way behind closed doors by attorneys who are looking after the welfare of their clients but not necessarily the good of the town.
We want to see the Town Council take the initiative to reach out to Scanlon to resolve their issues and place him back in the post. Neither side has to admit fault in their recent disputes. They can figure out what refinements need to be made in policies and directions to eliminate future fights.
Right now, neither side trusts the other. They need to focus on building trust, possibly with an outside mediator.
Resolution will require Scanlon to give up some of his power to act without council approval. It will require the council members to stop looking over Scanlon’s back, ready to pounce.
We understand that, at this point in the saga, what we’re calling for will be difficult. Some egos and maybe even a little pride must be put aside. But we would rather see a lot of effort put into resolution rather than divorce. Basalt will be the winner.
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From behind the scenes, the sights and sounds of horse and cattle, and the raucous lifestyle of rodeo culture hasn’t changed all that much since the Snowmass Rodeo arena opened here in the summer of 1973.