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Half of Thornton City Council left in the dark about mayor's White House visit

Mayor: "I’m sorry others on Council feel the need to twist these circumstances"
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 20:41:26-04

THORNTON, Colo. — Residents and city councilors are calling out the mayor of Thornton for a trip to Washington D.C. late last month few people knew about.

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann attended a White House event hosted by the First Lady celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage on Aug. 24 which featured the art of a student from Thornton.

"If this student is involved in this competition from Thornton, we are so proud of her and we wish the mayor would have come to us and told us about the competition. We would have all been so supportive," said Thornton City Council member Jacque Phillips.

Phillips says Mayor Kulmann spoke to four city councilors privately and included herself as the fifth vote to secure funding for the event — leaving half of city council unaware of the trip until Kulmann missed an important council meeting.

"The taxpayers — on the same night they find out there is a $9 million revenue shortfall, that was announced at the same meeting the mayor was unable to attend because she was flying back from D.C.," Phillips said.

Resident Kathy Henson says she wanted to know more about the student's achievement and was upset by the lack of transparency.

"She has been promoting this #OneThornton. How does excluding half of our city council from important news promote One Thornton?” said Henson.

In a statement, Mayor Kulmann said: "It’s important that the Thornton community know I went to Washington, DC to support a local student being recognized. These kinds of trips have been routine in the past for other Mayors. The City Attorney let all of City Council know that nothing in the charter was violated and we have policies in place to allow for these kinds of activities and expenses. I’m sorry others on Council feel the need to twist these circumstances into something fitting their own agenda. Perhaps the real story here is why others on Council need to take a settled issue and manipulate the facts in a way that fits their agenda?"