Recall meeting gets mixed reviews

At the conclusion of a half-hour presentation by members of the "Concerned Citizens of Moffat County" Thursday night, committee member Linda Booker said the group doesn't like the idea of trying to recall two Moffat County commissioners but said they think it needs to be done to "save the county."

More than 150 residents attended a presentation by the group at the Shadow Mountain Clubhouse.

Walking out the door after the presentation, some said the evidence presented showed that the county does need to be "saved," while some said the presentation had no credibility and showed nothing.

Maybell resident Ken White said he would sign a petition to recall commissioners Les Hampton and Marianna Raftopoulos.

"The presentation was excellent," he said. "They have they're facts and figures together."

But Dinosaur Mayor Richard Blakely said he wasn't impressed.

"It's a joke," he said of the presentation. "It was undemocratic and one sided. Where was the debate? The people they were talking about had no chance at a rebuttal. I think that's sad."

Four people gave a presentation citing reasons why they thought the two commissioners should be recalled.

Reasons cited included decreasing reserves in recent years, a library budget that is spending $47,000 more now than three years ago while operating with eight less employees, a natural resources department whose budget saw an increase while all other departments saw a decrease and unnecessary money spent because of a contract signed with NC Telecom.

At the conclusion of the half-hour presentation, organizer Lolly Hathhorn adjourned the meeting and thanked those in the packed room for attending.

Dinosaur Board of Trustees member Bob Puck said he did not think there was any way people could draw any valid conclusions from the presentation.

"There's no way people can understand a budget in five minutes," he said. "What I heard tonight is not worth the effort of a recall."

Commissioners Raftopoulos and Hampton, who sat in the audience and watched presenters challenge the decisions they have made while in office, mingled with those who came in support of them after the presentation.

"I didn't hear any issues," Raftopoulos said. "I didn't hear anything that has credibility. There's a lot of support here for us tonight."

Raftopoulos said she hoped people would come to the commissioners with their concerns in the future.

"If people have concerns I ask them to come talk to us in a public meeting," she said. "We need to sit down and talk them out. This wasn't a public discussion. I'm here as a public servant. If anyone feels I'm not doing that right, let's have a discussion."

Hampton shared the sentiments of his fellow commissioner.

"I'm speechless," he said afterward. "I don't know what to say. They definitely put a spin on it."

Hampton said he was happy with the number of people in support of him who attended the presentation.

"The turnout is encouraging," he said. "I see the faces of a lot of friends."

But Craig resident Randy Taylor was not at the meeting in support of the commissioners.

"It seems like they keep cutting both the budgets and services to the people," he said of the commissioners in question. "All the money they spend should be put back in the community."

Hathhorn, who organized the committee that made the presentation Thursday, said the next step the group will take in its effort is to read public comments that were dropped in a box as audience members exited.

"I've talked to a lot of people and they're ready for a recall," she said.

Booker said the group would make sure the community supports a recall before it moves forward.

"We are going to read the comments that were left at this meeting and get the feeling of the community," she said. "This is not something we take lightly."

Booker said she received mixed feedback from people in attendance.

"I heard from a couple of people that they do not believe in recalls at all," she said. "But there are other people like us who don't believe in recalls, but feel it's the only way to

save the county."

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