Accused of being a bully, Englewood councilwoman defends record in recall effort

Laurett Barrentine: I'm fighting corruption
Posted at 10:45 PM, Sep 16, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Laurett Barrentine says she’s standing up for her community.

Opponents say she’s tearing it apart.

The District 3 councilwoman is facing a recall election, with ballots due at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“I’m just a single mom trying to make sure that I am doing the best job that I can for the community,” she told Denver7.

Former Englewood Councilman Steve Yates supports the recall, saying Barrentine “verbally attacks individuals who don’t agree with her.”

The affidavit to recall states that Barrentine “demonstrates conduct unbecoming of an elected official and creates a toxic, counterproductive dynamic on Englewood City Council.”

It accuses of her of bullying and making unwarranted threats to fire City employees, and of refusing to approve a City budget, jeopardizing essential City services like police, fire and street repairs.

Barrentine said no one has shown up to any of the debates or town hall meetings to back up those claims.

She said she doesn’t have the authority to fire City employees and that she is just one vote out of seven.

She said she sometimes persuades other council members to vote with her and makes no apologies.

She said if council members don't vote for a specific budget, the City would not come to a screeching halt.

She added, there are mechanisms in place where the existing budget would then get extended.

Barrentine told Denver7 that she’s just doing her job to protect taxpayers and to change the way things have long been done at city hall.

“The kind of corruption, the kind of good old boy network,” she said, “doing contracts without bids.”

“Everything is a conspiracy to her,” counters Yates. “Everybody is corrupt.  So anybody who is in charge, she is going to take them down.”

The Councilwoman said the recall effort began shortly after she asked for a forensic audit of the Englewood Environmental Foundation, which was formed to protect the city from liability during asbestos cleanup at the old Cinderella City site, which the city acquired for its City Center.

“There are payments that are double payments,” she said. “There are payments to companies that no longer exist, and there are payments that are excessive.”

Opponents say the District Attorney looked into the issue and found no malfeasance.

Barrentine says that’s because the statute of limitations had expired.

“We want to see someone who we can have a discussion with,” Yates said, “instead of an argument every time there’s not a meeting of the minds.”

Barrentine counters that things need to change.

“It’s not supposed to be who you know,” she said. “It’s that we follow the law, that we’re equitable and that everybody has a seat at the table and that everybody is treated fairly.”

The councilwoman said she doesn’t know how the election is going to turn out, she just knows that she will never give up the fight.

“The smartest thing I ever did,” she said, “was choose to raise my son here.  We have an amazing community and it’s worth fighting for.”

The election is a mail-in ballot election.

Ballots can be dropped off on the Northeast side of Englewood Civic Center.