GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Since the arrest of Grand Junction's councilman-elect Rick Brainard April 6 for an alleged third-degree assault on his live-in girlfriend, there's been murmuring throughout the community as to whether he'll stay on city council. Brainard beat the incumbent Mayor Bill Pitts in the municipal election earlier this month.
In a statement made to local media, Brainard said: "There has been some speculation as to whether I will withdraw from my newly elected position with the Grand Junction City Council. I have no intention of withdrawing and look forward to serving on the Council as I was elected to do."
Brainard's full statement ran in Grand Junction's Daily Sentinel Wednesday and on local TV news websites.
So ... can Brainard be forced to step down? At this point, the answer is no. Grand Junction's "charter speaks specifically to the reasons which can result in a city councilmember being removed from council. With regard to infractions of the law, a felony conviction is the only thing listed," said Sam Rainguet, the City of GJ spokeswoman, in an email.
According to Kate Porras, spokeswoman for the Grand Junction Police Department, "third-degree assault is a misdemeanor charge."
As of now, Brainard's future as a city representative is completely up to him, added Rainguet.
"He can proceed with being sworn in as a city councilmember on May 6, or he can choose not to," Rainguet said.
Brainard is expected back in court May 6, as well.
The public could, however, institute a recall if certain conditions are met. According to the Grand Junction City Charter, any registered voter within the City of Grand Junction may file an affidavit with the city clerk regarding the officer in question with specifics on why the person should be removed. Recall petitions would then be drawn up, circulated by the voter, and filed with the city clerk within 30 days of issuance.
The petition cannot be filed until the official has been in office for three months. Read the full city charter online at www.gjcity.org.
On the Free Press Facebook friends page, many readers engaged in a conversation as to whether they'd sign a recall petition regarding Brainard. Of the many comments written as of Thursday, April 11, 21 people said they would sign a recall petition, three were unsure and two said no.