Editorial: After Brian MacKenzie’s resignation, let’s move forward | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial: After Brian MacKenzie’s resignation, let’s move forward

When Councilman Brian MacKenzie was hired as Colorado Northwestern Community College’s new marketing director in 2016, many saw his addition to the Craig community as a positive thing.

He’s well-educated. He had big ideas and seemed dedicated to making them work here in Craig so our changing community might prosper. He quickly assimilated himself into our quiet little town. And though his tenure at CNCC didn’t last very long, many of us viewed MacKenzie with respect for his volunteerism and community service on Craig’s City Council.

Then MacKenzie shocked us, disgusted us with his arrested on three child sex-related felonies near Denver over the weekend.

While it’s important to withhold our judgment until MacKenzie is proven guilty in a court of law, the evidence against MacKenzie is damning. He’s accused of trying to meet and have sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl — who was actually an undercover Jefferson County Sheriff’s investigator.

A normal person wouldn’t need to be scared straight, but it’s as if MacKenzie never saw Chris Hansen’s “To Catch a Predator,” a long-running TV show whose re-runs from 2007 still haunt some local TV stations. The show exposed to the whole world the urges that exist in the hearts of some men. It was a warning to those whose sexual behaviors seek out underage children. If you so much as try to engage in unlawful sexual activity with a child, our society will send you to jail and probably make you register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

Sadly, the Craig community is no stranger to high-profile cases involving inappropriate sexual relationships with children. There’s a new state law on the books as a result of the 2018 acquittal of Justin Folley, a Moffat County School District teacher accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female student. Rick Barnes’ sexual assault case also remains tied up in the courts.

It’s important to remember such cases aren’t limited to Craig. Cities in states across the US struggle with similar crimes. But because Craig is a small, beautiful town where most of us know each other, MacKenzie’s betrayal hits home for those of us who knew him and trusted him.

Every sitting Craig councilor has to be feeling MacKenzie’s stinging betrayal. Our city council has worked hard since April to bring about economic diversification, a revamped downtown area, a new marijuana ordinance, and more. Their continued work should not be overshadowed or tainted by accusations of attempted pedophilia.

Editorial Board

Sheli Steele,
general manager for Craig Press

Clay Thorp, reporter

Dwight Siverson,
community representative

Tonia Santee,
community representative

Contact the Editorial Board at editor@CraigDailyPress.com.

That’s why we are glad Councilman MacKenzie resigned Thursday.

If MacKenzie hadn’t resigned, there are councilors who wouldn’t have hesitated to initiate a recall petition. We are glad it didn’t come to that. But now that MacKenzie is out of office, council should move immediately to appoint a qualified replacement and do the professional interviews it will take to make sure Craig has a moral, mentally awake new councilperson.

It might even be worth the taxpayer dollars to have an emergency election to let voters decide MacKenzie’s replacement, but that’s ultimately for residents to decide and council to listen whether they spend upwards of $20,000 just so voters can elect one seat on council.

Lastly, we would encourage MacKenzie to return to Lakewood, where he apparently still has a residence, so he can face the very serious charges brought by police. Perhaps once MacKenzie is gone and his sentence passed down in court can the Craig community begin to rebuild its image tarnished by another man who betrayed our trust and left our community to pick up the pieces.