Residents discuss recall of county commissioners

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A recall effort of two Moffat County commissioners was the subject of a meeting of more than 30 people gathered in a suite at the Craig Holiday Inn Thursday.

"From the input I've gotten, people want a recall," said Lollie Hatthorne, who organized the meeting. "That's why we're here, to form a committee and get the ball rolling."

Those in attendance expressed concern about "out-of-control" spending that has ensued under the leadership of Moffat County commissioners Les Hampton and Marianna Raftopoulos.

"We're not here for a vendetta," said

Pam Foster, who lost to Hampton in the 2000 election. "We're here because we're concerned for the taxpayers of Moffat

County."

No committee was formed, and no specific decisions were made on how the group wanted to proceed with the effort other than to call themselves the

Concerned Taxpayers of Moffat County and hold a public meeting sometime next week.

A few in attendance were part of the recall of Moffat County commissioners in the 1980s.

They offered words of caution before the group proceeded any farther.

"It's not easy," said former county commissioner and rancher John Peroulis of a recall effort.

"When you take this on, you'd better be ready and you'd better be ready to put up some

dollars."

Jim Showalter agreed.

"I was involved in the last recall and it's no picnic," he said. "You're looking at a lot of work and a lot of time."

In order to initiate a recall, a petition must have signatures equaling 25 percent of the total votes cast the last time he or she ran for office, according to Colorado law.

To initiate a recall election for Hampton, 1,306 signatures would have to be gathered.

It would take 972 signatures to initiate a recall for

Raftopoulos.

Some in attendance warned that recalls ruin careers, lives and split a community.

But Peroulis said if there is a need for a recall, something must be done.

"It's not fun doing this, but when you're in office you'd better be doing something so there's not a reason to be recalled," he said. "This is going to take time and it's going to take money."

Hampton arrived at the meeting minutes before it was scheduled to begin but was turned away at the door. Raftopoulos' husband, John Raftopoulos, also was denied access.

Hatthorne said the reason the two were turned away was it was a "private meeting."

"I was entitled to have anyone I wanted there," Hatthorne. "It

was more or less by invitation

only."

Hampton had he wanted to be there to hear the concerns.

"I'm not scared, I'm not nervous," he said, standing in the lobby while the meeting was in progress. "I haven't done anything illegal, immoral or wrong."

Craig Daily Press reporter Christina M. Currie contributed to this report.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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