About the Recall

A recall is a citizen’s right, and our only recourse when things go wrong in government.

We are a group of concerned citizens and city leaders who have come together to take back and restore faith in our city government.
 
For many years, Brighton residents have been frustrated by increasingly high water utility bills. Over the years, we discovered that:
 
  • Our city was often only estimating our usage.
  • Our city often extended our billing cycle to 35 days or longer, usually during summer months, which made many of us shift into higher usage rates with the extra days.
  • Our city often shut water off with little or no notice after a late payment, forcing residents to pay additional late and reconnect fees.
Many, many residents receive monthly water bills with usage that is preposterously high:
 
  • Single, elderly homeowners allegedly using 40,000 gallons of water a month.
  • People gone on vacation for weeks, but still showing above-average water usage on their bills.
  • Families of four, not even watering their lawns, with $300 or higher water bills.
These issues have impacted the real lives of many residents. People on fixed incomes have had to choose between paying their water bills and getting their prescriptions.
 
And, consistently, whenever residents have complained or questioned the city about it, they are treated unprofessionally and even rudely.
 
For nearly a decade, the situation continued, and grew worse.
 
Then, in September of 2018, new city manager Phillip Rodriguez, while creating his first budget for the city of Brighton, discovered a significant problem: $67+ MILLION dollars was effectively “hiding” in the water department, unassigned to any projects.
 
This $67 million was from over-collected water bill charges from the families and businesses of Brighton, that started in 2012.
 
It’s our money – yours and mine, that they took under extremely suspicious circumstances.
 
You see, the city of Brighton had a very unusual practice from 2011 through 2018: they would create a budget, as the law requires, each fall, but then they would come back a few months later and “bump up” the budget.
 
Each time they met, they claimed they needed to raise your water rates to cover a budget shortfall in the water department.
 
The problem is: the budget shortfall never existed. Not even once.
 
For seven straight years, the city government raised your water rates, based on the outright lie that the water department was insolvent and needed more money to meet basic needs.
 
And then, they pocketed your money.
 
When Phillip Rodriguez discovered this “slush fund”, he immediately dismissed the Utilities Director and alerted our city council, then led by new mayor (but former councilman) Ken Kreutzer.
 
Although Rodriguez had just received his first annual review a few weeks before, earning a 4.3 out of 5 on
over 400 data points and receiving a performance raise and additional benefits (and earning the unanimous praise of the city council), Mayor Kreutzer immediately began trying to terminate Rodriguez’s employment.
 
In an illegally-called “Executive Session” on October 2, 2018, Rodriguez was told he was “on thin ice” for exposing this water department money pile, which itself is an illegal fund for the city to have.
 
Rodriguez was a whistleblower, and the very first thing our mayor tried to do was get rid of him.
 
It was only through the efforts of other council members, an alert public, and media scrutiny, that Rodriguez’s job was spared a year ago.
 
Mr. Rodriguez also had to contend with another very serious situation involving Councilwoman Lynn Baca.

Only 11 days after he started his position as the new City Manager, Rodriguez reported to Mayor Kreutzer that Baca had approached him then (and several times after), to ask – illegally – for a job in the city. Baca is term-limited and has to leave her office this January, and wanted to secure a salaried job as Assistant City Manager once her term expired, in violation of city law.
 
Again, Kreutzer did nothing. His only defense, when this second scandal was made public on July 2, 2019, was that he, “is not the disciplinarian of the council”.
 
Also on July 2, 2019, at a packed city council meeting, Mr. Rodriguez presented his findings on the excess water funds to the council and the public. This meeting is freely available for anyone to watch by clicking here: http://brightonco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=518
 
The public in attendance was incensed and demanded a forensic audit of this money be conducted. We wanted to know how it happened, who had been lying to the council about budget shortfalls that never existed, and if any of that money had ever been misappropriated.
 
Only under intense public outrage, did the council reluctantly agree to proceed with an independent forensic audit of the water department fund, going back to 2011.
 
(It was at this meeting that Rodriguez had let the public know, for the first time, about the attempts of Ms. Baca to obtain a job in violation of the law.)
 
We thought we had victory – a forensic audit was finally going to be conducted.
 
Then, just six days later, during the evening of July 8, Mayor Kreutzer called an “Emergency Council Meeting” for the very next day. This meeting would be to vote to suspend Mr. Rodriguez and place an item on the agenda for their next regular meeting (July 16), to terminate him.
 
The largest turnout in city history for a council meeting happened on July 9, despite less than a day’s notice.
 
Irate, Brighton residents went before the council one-by-one, some literally begging the council not to suspend Mr. Rodriguez; the timing was more than suspicious, and the fact that he was a two-time whistle-blower made any action against him immediately following the revelation of two scandals in the city, was something that could only be interpreted as retaliation (a state and federal crime, if true).
 
Completely indifferent to the cries of the residents and the vocal outrage of three dissenting councilors, Mayor Kreutzer and four other councilmembers, all of whom had ties to the water department rate hikes for many years, voted to suspend Mr. Rodriguez.
 
A vote to terminate him is scheduled for July 16, though we have now heard that the city is attempting to offer Mr. Rodriguez a significant settlement amount – far above his $270,000 severance package – to resign ahead of this vote.
 
Led once again by Mayor Kreutzer, they are attempting to use hundreds of thousands of OUR dollars, to brush these scandals under the rug.
 
Whether he is fired or resigns with a huge payout, losing Mr. Rodriguez means the selection of the forensic auditor is placed back into the hands of Mayor Kreutzer and this corrupt city council. They can delay indefinitely the selection, and ultimately choose one that will be friendly to the council instead of committed to the truth.
 
This is a city government gone awry. Arrogant, tone-deaf, and elitist, our city council, led by Mayor Kreutzer, has destroyed all public confidence in the leadership of the City of Brighton.
 
Marinated in scandal, smug and believing himself untouchable, this mayor has led our city government into a cesspool of accusations, buy-outs for silence, and the bilking of literally tens of millions of dollars from Brighton residents.
 
That’s where we came to be.
 
Enough is enough.
 
We, the residents of the city of Brighton, Colorado, are taking our government back.
 
For the first time in our city’s history, we are rising up to recall one of our elected officials.
 
But we’re not stopping with Mayor Kreutzer. He’s the head of the “monster”, but he’s not the entire problem. Several concerned citizens are seeking recalls of elected officials in their own Wards.
 
We need your help. Please follow our website, and be sure to LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE our Official Facebook page.
 
 
Your city needs you!