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Glenwood Springs City Council calls for resignation of Councilor Tony Hershey

Hershey says he's not resigning

In this file photo from April 2019, Tony Hershey is sworn in as an at large city councilor.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Six members of Glenwood Springs City Council in a letter called for the resignation of councilor Tony Hershey at their regular meeting Thursday.

The sixth item on the agenda, “council decorum and expectations,” did not include the letter for public inspection prior to Thursday evening’s council meeting. A copy of the letter was made available after the vote.

Instead, all of council — with the exception of Hershey, who abstained — voted in favor of releasing the letter publicly during the council meeting itself.

Hershey made clear that he would not resign from council but did not address the allegations further.

Hershey said he had not had a chance to make a formal response.

“When it comes, you’ll see (my response),” Hershey said. “But, no, I’m not resigning, so thank you.”

Following the vote, members of council proceeded to read the letter’s content into the record.

“Dear Councilor Hershey, on behalf of all six members of Glenwood Springs City Council, besides you, we unanimously request that you resign,” said Councilor Paula Stepp. “It’s based on recurring issues over the past year of your service with the culmination of your behavior on Thursday, May 14.”

Stepp, while continuing to read the first portion of the letter, called Hershey’s behavior during an executive session on May 14 “unethical.”

Executive sessions are private meetings, generally held immediately after council meetings, between members of council, city manager Debra Figueroa and City Attorney Karl Hanlon often concerning legal matters.

Following Stepp, Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup read the letter’s next paragraph and alleged that Hershey called City Manager Debra Figueroa a “liar” before taking a “brief hiatus” from the May 14 executive session.

“You returned to the meeting to announce that our city attorney and city manager were liars and that you had called a representative of the entity being discussed after you left the meeting,” Kaup stated. “You also told the council that you divulged sensitive and confidential comments to that person.”

According to the May 14 special city council meeting agenda, “27th Street” was the lone item that was supposed to have been discussed in executive session.

The May 14 incident was by no means the only troubling incident for members of council, the letter states.

“You have routinely skipped work sessions that you do not care about…watched football games during council meetings,” said Councilor Steve Davis.

Hershey was elected as an at-large Glenwood Springs City Councilor in April of 2019 after defeating then at-large city councilman Jim Ingraham, who was appointed to the seat, and another challenger Erika Gibson.

Hershey earned the highest number of votes with approximately 1,000 ballots to Ingraham’s nearly 600 and Gibson’s 460.

Hershey ran a campaign that largely focused on what he described as wasteful city spending. While campaigning, Hershey also opposed the 3/4-cent street sales tax, which voters ultimately voted down.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent filed a CORA (Colorado Open Records Act) on May 20 and was ultimately provided a copy of the letter Thursday night — after a majority of council voted to make it public.

Following Davis, Councilor Charlie Willman, who was also elected to council last year, criticized Hershey for allegedly not fulfilling his role as a council liaison to various boards and commissions.

“You’ve only attended one (historical preservation commission) meeting, one (downtown development authority) meeting, four fire district meetings, no airport meetings and four (victim’s assistance and law enforcement) meetings,” Willman said. “Attending ten meetings out of a possible fifty is discouraging to the citizens who volunteer their time and talent.”

Following Willman, Mayor Jonathan Godes stated that Hershey had created and nurtured a “toxic culture” and spawned a hostile workplace for city staff and members of council.

“In these council meetings, you routinely interrupt other councilors, belittle their sincere contributions and convictions,” Godes read aloud from the letter. “In one memorable, though not rare tirade, you called us all ‘f-ing idiots’ before storming out of the meeting.”

Following Godes, Councilor Rick Voorhees finished reading the letter by saying Glenwood’s citizen’s deserved someone that will represent them with “trust, respect and dedication.”

mabennett@posindependent.com


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