MONUMENT In a burst of progress after months of gridlock, the Monument Board of Trustees welcomed a seventh member Monday night, filled two key staff positions and agreed to make an offer to a candidate for a third position.

The meeting began with the swearing-in of Jim Romanello, who won a Nov. 6 election to fill the seat of former board member Don Wilson, who became mayor last spring.

Romanello broke the stalemate to reappoint longtime Monument employee Pamela Smith as town treasurer. More than six months ago, three trustees refused to reappoint her or the town attorney and town clerk.

The board voted unanimously, with Trustee Laurie Clark absent, to select Lakewood-based lawyer Joseph Rivera as the new town attorney. The past town attorney, Alicia Corley, left town in September after months of job uncertainty.

Trustees also decided to offer former Craig City Manager Mike Foreman the position of interim town manager and agreed to find a permanent replacement within four months after he starts. Previous Town Manager Chris Lowe parted ways with the town last summer over a feud with the police chief.

The nearly three-hour meeting marked a turnaround for the board, which has been mired in indecision since last spring. In April, when Wilson beat Trustee Jeffrey Bornstein in the mayoral race, two new trustees — Clark and Ron Stephens — were voted into office.

Wilson and Trustees Stephens and Kelly Elliott had previously voted to appoint Romanello, who serves on the board of directors for Village Center Metro District, to fill the empty trustee seat. But the board couldn’t agree on Romanello or any other replacement, so a special election was held.

Romanello beat planning commissioner Kenneth Kimple and Ann Howe, a former New Hampshire legislator who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to be El Paso County commissioner for District 1. Romanello took 1,622 votes, or about 42 percent, compared with Howe’s 36 percent and Kimple’s 22 percent.

Trustee Greg Coopman voted against Smith’s reappointment, citing concerns about the town’s financials. He said he was approached by the Sheriff’s Office about the town’s financial records, “which, to me, tells me there’s something in question with town finances.”

Asked about Coopman’s comments after the meeting, Wilson said trustees received a request from the Sheriff’s Office to retain “physical records and documents” for 90 days. The request cited an “ongoing investigation,” Wilson said. The town has received such notices in the past when authorities have investigated developers or vendors, he said.

“We don’t know what it’s about,” Wilson said.

Jeffrey Bornstein abstained from the vote to reappoint Smith.

Bornstein, Clark and Coopman voted in May against reappointing the three town employees. Then they boycotted two special meetings called by the mayor to discuss their objections.

Town Clerk Laura Hogan since has been reappointed to her position.

Monday night, Coopman was the lone vote against offering Foreman the town manager position. He expressed concerns that the board had not adequately defined criteria for the position.

County Government Reporter

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