Letter: Basalt botches it | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Basalt botches it

Dear Editor:

Well, if it wasn’t already obvious at the time, it turns out that the people of Basalt and The Aspen Times who all cried foul were correct.

How could our elected officials not have smelled the odor of this situation and not stood up for us residents — even if it was against the advice of Town Attorney Tom Smith? The ethical obligation of our Town Council includes a duty to lead on behalf of the people.

As affirmed by a judge Monday, the Town Council got bad advice, and its members should have known it given their impressive backgrounds. Tom Smith was flat-out wrong and arrogant in doing so. We paid him $42,707.10 for this? Really?

The Town Council members, per his advice, buried their heads in the sand at a public meeting attended by a group of voters supporting Roderick O’Connor wanting an explanation. They rebuffed its electorate and allowed an attorney to conduct the town’s business. Even Mike Scanlon, the new town manager, drank the Kool-Aid by saying in December that “public disclosure of the report would cause substantial injury to the public interest,” but ironically, in Tuesday’s paper he now says that “he doesn’t buy the town’s own argument” and “complaints shouldn’t be anonymous.” Which is it?

One can only assume that was the town attorney playing puppeteer with Scanlon, as he did with the council. How our elected officials missed this is as confusing as the street striping down Two Rivers Road. Remember, this was about meritless, petty matters, including the objection to the color of police uniforms. We voters just didn’t get the town’s position, and correctly so, but what we do understand is that we need a new “competent” town attorney who represents the voters and an apology from the council for the $181,000 expense that this biblically poor decision cost us taxpayers.

Cheers to The Aspen Times for challenging our elected officials and defending the rights of us town folks. Shame on the Town Council for not doing the same.

Doug McMillin


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