Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison announced his resignation at the end of Monday night.
Atchison’s announcement came unexpectedly to the public and members of city council at the end of a study session that was livestreamed on YouTube on May 3. “I tenured my resignation effective at the end of business tonight. Based on the recommendation of my physician, I am resigning from the position of mayor,” Atchison said.
Atchison was the focus of a seven-month long recall campaign alongside three other members of city council, Mayor Pro Tem Anita Seitz and Councilors Jon Voelz and Kathryn Skulley. On April 28, an updated count of recall petitions found enough eligible signatures to trigger recall elections for Atchison and Voelz.
Atchison did not explicitly say at the May 3 study session whether the forthcoming recall election was the reason for his resignation, although he told the Westminster Window to expect a comment about the subject at the study session.
“I want to thank the residents of the city for the past four-plus decades of time I’ve had with them. But most certainly I want to recognize a particular group and that’s our city employees. We have had excellent service out of our employees,” Atchison said at the study session.
Some members of council were clearly caught off guard. Voelz put his hands in front of his mouth as to cover a surprised facial expression. Other council members looked equally surprised.
The city council entered into an executive session around 8:40 p.m. and once that finished, Atchison said, “I will be done as the mayor.”
Following the meeting, members of council and the community responded to the news. “I want to sincerely thank Herb Atchison for his many years of service to the community,” said Anita Seitz, former mayor pro tem and now acting mayor of Westminster.
Councilor David DeMott said, “I wish former Mayor Atchison well and thank him for his many years of public service. I will maintain my focus on the business of the citizens who I was elected to represent.” A statement from the city said Atchison has served the city for 42 years on city council and on other boards and commissions.
Skulley said in a Tweet, “Thank you for your service, Mr. Mayor.”
Debbie Teter, an organizer with the Westminster Water Warriors, the group that led the recall campaign against Atchison, wasn’t as satisfied with the news, even though she wanted him out of office. “It doesn’t really give us closure on Herb’s thinking behind his support of higher water rates,” Teter said. “He just gets to resign and go away and it’s kind of muddying the waters a little bit on this election.”
In contrast, community member Cassie Turner said on Twitter, “Wishing Herb nothing but the best. He’s a great guy and loves Westminster. He’ll be missed by many, including me.”
Atchison said in a May 4 email that his decision to resign isn’t related to the recall.
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