A local trustee is being criticized for his actions at the last Green Mountain Falls town meeting before the new election.
Trustee Mac Pitrone started yelling and slamming the table during the Mayor's Report section of the agenda.
The mayor, Lorrie Worthey, had let a city employee read her resignation letter, which got quite the reaction out of Pitrone.
"Stop! Stop! Officer remove that woman. She is completely out of order," Pitrone can be heard yelling on the public recording of the March 18 meeting.
The woman he is yelling at is a former sergeant, Susan Barnes.
Barnes was reading her resignation letter which outlined some concerns she had after allegedly being assaulted by two men while out on patrol last November.
She was also criticizing the town's actions in dismantling the Marshal's office, before claiming that the evidence building was broken into by Trustee Pitrone.
That's when he reacted.
"I think I acted a fool but I lost my temper. I suppose after the beating I've taken, and the board has been taking, in social media, I really don't have an excuse for it, but I lost my temper. There's no other way to characterize it," said Pitrone.
The heated interaction continued for another 10 minutes before the board decided to address Barnes' concerns in an executive session.
Town manager, Robert McArthur, told 11 News any employees resignation is treated as a personnel matter that shouldn't be brought up in a public meeting.
11 News reached out to Barnes, but have yet to get a response.
The town declined to comment on the alleged assault because of the active investigation.
Click here for the public video of the meeting.
Susan Barnes' resignation letter is below:
Letter of Resignation
Susan C Barnes
To Whom it may concern,
On, November 2, 2013, at approximately 2AM, I was on patrol in Green Mountain Falls, when 2 unknown males, threw softball size rocks at my marked patrol car window while I was in it. I immediately got out to attempt to contact the assailants and a brief foot pursuit ensued. I was pushed to ground, kicked, and drug by my hair across an empty lot. By fighting back and deploying OC spray, I was able to stop the assault and the 2 assailants fled, leaving me with a broken left collarbone, lacerated kidney, cervical sprain, concussion, rib contusions and multiple cuts and deep facial bruising. Being the victim of this crime is an inherent “occupational hazard” of my job, everything that followed IS not!
Immediately following this attack the plan of a few board members and the public works director, to do away with the Green Mountain Falls Police Department, went into high gear. Unfortunately, their plan was ill formed, full of lies and misconceptions. They promised to still have local law enforcement with NO plan or budget to implement that, we were told an IGA was made with El Paso then that it was not. NO official legal steps were taken to disband the Police at a state or town level, we were all just supposed to go away silently and the people would never know the difference. Chief Bradley was asked to leave and basically forced out of his position, being told the department was no longer going to be able to be funded, and the announcement was made that El Paso County was taking over. During the recorded meeting with, the police departments Trustee Howard Price, Mac Pitrone and former town attorney Lisa Hickey, where the Chief was given the strong suggestion to resign , Price made the statement that he was not trying to be sexist BUT:
If it had been Tim in the vehicle that night, the assault would never have happened because the guys would have been scared of TIM…this would never have happened to a male police officer.
Susan brought this on herself because she should have never gotten out of the car. If she was authorized to use deadly force why didn’t she just run them over.
This kind of thing looks bad on the town and brings bad press, we need El Paso to cover law enforcement because bad things happening to their people doesn’t affect the town directly and look so bad.
Next, the police vehicles and equipment were assumed by the public works department, phones were disconnected; the evidence building was broken into by Mac Pitrone and Rob McArthur and re-keyed, thus locking me out. A concerned citizen, seeing this called El Paso County to report it. Class 3 Weapons, illegal for any civilian to have in their possession, were taken and held at the public works department and even when numerous other options and suggestions were given to remedy this weapons situation they were ignored. This initiated
a barrage of calls to me, while trying to heal from my injuries; I was thrown into preserving evidence and the integrity of the department and the town. El Paso County District Attorneys,investigators, detectives and deputies were all calling and needing me to respond.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 11/12/13 that I was able to get any answers or was even told about Chief Bradley being gone. I was informed that my new supervisor Trustee Price was out
of the country and asked to have a meeting with Pitrone and McArthur (Public Works Director) about the current state of the Marshals office and my status, I was very clear in this meeting that I was now the evidence custodian and needed to be allowed access to the old building, and thus was given a key. This was the first of many attempts to find out about my status as a certified peace officer employed by GMF. This meeting was basically for Pitrone and McArthur to try to “clear” themselves of any wrongdoings by making it appear that I was informed and accepting of everything that was being done, I got no answers about anything I needed to know and was told I would have to speak to Price when he got back. On, 11-19-2013, I finally had the chance to meet with Price and record our meeting. The situation with Bradley leaving, the unknown status of the Police Department and confusion on coverage with El Paso was explosive at this time. My response to the request to have a meeting, with my supervisor about my employment, was met with the answer from Price “am
attempting to find a way to meet with you prior to the Tuesday evening BoT meeting; however, you must understand with all of the lies that have been posted by the Mayor, Marshal, and others on the Facebook page, that the majority of the Trustees are not allowed to read because
we’ve been shut out by the Mayor, I am going to insist that there be at least one or two other people present when we do meet.
This, I’m sorry to say is for protection of the Town of Green Mountain Falls, myself, and you. I assumed this meeting was going to be attended by Pitrone or McArthur, when I arrived instead the “independent 3rd party” Mr. Price brought with him was Pat Hill, a reporter from the Courier. I expressed that I was uncomfortable about talking about my employment, my
health and the status of the department with a reporter present and was told she wasn’t there
in that capacity. As, Hill turned on her recorder, Price proceeded to grill me about the letter
that Bradley had released. Price took the entire time HE had allotted for the meeting to “clear” his name, and allowed no time to discuss my concerns.
Stopping him as he was leaving, I confronted him about the status of my employment and the Police Department. He stated there were going to be a lot of changes and we would not be having law enforcement but code enforcement instead, as was budgeted. He then went on to say we would get together to discuss that position, but 1 thing is for sure I would not be allowed to work night hours alone, he would not have his wife or his daughter alone out at night and would certainly not have me as a employee in that situation. I explained that I am a trained police officer and that is my job it is not any less dangerous in the daylight. I commented that he seemed to have a problem with women in law enforcement and he suggested that I should be more upset that Chief Bradly put me in harm’s way and didn’t afford me the protection that he should have.
While leaving Price and Hill walked out together, Price leaned over to hill and stated “You think you can make me not look so much like an ass with all that?”
A couple days later 2 news articles were published in the Courier. 1 proclaiming “Barnes to Return to Green Mountain Falls” and that a “clear the air meeting was initiated by Barnes.”
To this day, 4 months later I can still get NO answers to my status, continuing employment, vehicles, equipment, open cases, have been relocked out of the evidence building and have been banned from ANY functions associated with my job, even though I have been released by worker’s comp and my doctors for the last couple months to do all functions except patrol, that needed to be addressed. My assault seems to be a convenient excuse to keep me away from interfering with the grand plan to get rid of local law enforcement. However, by default, I am being burdened with ALL the issues dealing with a department that is still legally in place and should be operational. I have been told that I cannot return to any duty even collecting or responding to my electronic or USPS mail, making phone calls or attending hearings and court that I have been subpoenaed to, until I no longer have a Worker Compensation claim against GMF and until that point my supervisor will not even speak to me about my employment or job duties that need to be in some way addressed. At one point, sparked by my attendance at a town meeting as a private citizen, Price told me that it really wasn’t possible for me to even be in town, in an unofficial capacity, because people would want to talk to me about work, the assault and the Marshal’s office. Not wanting to be considered insubordinate, I have not been able to even see friends in the community or eat at the restaurants I have grown to love. This is not the normal stance an employer takes when an employee in injured on the job. I have had 4 different people in the last 4 months to “report” to and have never been given clear definition as to who my current supervisor is. Now since we have a public works director acting as a town manager, a position that doesn’t currently exist, I
approached the new town attorney Matt Krob to provide answers. All I get is a run around and blame placing. McArthur blames Krob and town insurance, Krob blames board and insurance and worker’s comp and I am left in limbo sill with no answers but a whole lot of liability. We currently have open cases with El Paso County and open municipal cases that need immediate attention; I have not been allowed to give them. My mail has been opened and held from me including official court and legal correspondence. A month ago I asked for Krob to come up with a solution so I can meet my legal obligations to the town, courts and my arrestees and instead was cut off from ALL communication even with Krob and McArthur, unless I confront them at a board meeting. I was assured by Krob that he was not a newbee, he was a well qualified attorney with a father who was a judge and I was being overly concerned and he would look into it. After missing several hearings and court dates allowing DUI drivers I arrested to be back on the streets of GMF, I confronted Krob again at a town hall meeting and was told that he couldn’t help me because I didn’t supply him any information on the cases I was concerned with. I had sent 5 emails over a months’ time to him and McArthur and never got a response requesting anything from me. Besides, the information he was asking for is and was the work related files and correspondence being withheld from me and that I am not allowed to deal with. The only time I am allowed to perform work related duties is when it is convenient for McArthur or my employer. I was recently asked about the departments computers and was told to write a synopsis or timeline of everything I know about them. I provided the facts that will soon be posted, and McArthur and Price continued to provide lies even after knowing the truth.
At one town meeting McArthur pulled me aside and stated that he was told by the Captain of the Colorado State Patrol, the town was not getting services from them. It that same meeting it was announced again by 2 trustees that the CSP was giving 15 or 20 dedicated patrol hours and later that week, the same was reported by the Courier. Documentation to this will also be posted later.
In addition to all these recent ongoing, we are all aware of the issues that were brought to light by the 2 written statements concerning the Reasons for Resignation and challenges of working for GMF, provided by Tim Bradley. To the best of my knowledge and belief these statements are 100 percent the truth. I NEVER refuted any statement that was made by Bradley, I only clarified publically that, the social media statements that were being made about Rob McArthur were misconstrued from Bradley’s letter, NOT Bradley’s letter itself. I WAS concerned about retaliation and harassment from Public Works Employees specifically ones that were immediately hired after being let go from our department under extremely unfavorable circumstances. This concern seemed validated to me, when during this time I started to have things done to my parked personal vehicle, such as the gas siphoned, car keyed, HORE (actual spelling) written in the dust on my hood and friends/ fellow law enforcement officers targeted for complaints by public works employees.
So, it is with the deepest regret that I must submit my resignation, from the position of Part-time Police Sergeant for the Town of Green Mountain Falls. I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity, over the past 2 years, to serve the community of Green Mountain Falls and had hoped to serve for many years to come. I have placed the safety, health and happiness of the town and its residents as my top priority. However, the recent turmoil and constant volatile government situation has made the environment of my employment with this agency unstable, unhealthy, unsafe and uncomfortable.
I appreciate the outpouring of support and encouragement I have received from the residents and business owners and will miss the people of this town tremendously but at this juncture in my life I cannot continue to be a victim of the Green Mountain Falls politics, I must move forward to seek full time, permanent and stable employment elsewhere.