COMMERCE - The Commerce City Clerk who tendered her resignation last week said she was forced to leave her post and signed a Sept. 23 resignation letter under duress.
Lisa Craghead said she was taken behind a closed door before city attorney Erik Johnson asked her to resign from her post and referenced a trio of accusations lodged against her.
Craghead said Johnson, along with Mayor Michael Hart and Police Chief Bob Baine, indicated that she was asked to resign because of a “come and go as you please” work ethic, disclosing confidential information and cashing personal checks out of the city's petty cash fund.
In response to the allegations, Craghead said her work hours are documented and she has only talked about publicly disclosed decisions of the council. Regarding the petty cash allegation, the clerk said she did cash personal checks out of the city's petty cash drawer - noting that it is a common practice for employees to cash checks out of city registers.
“There is no policy against that,” shd said.
The city attorney, according to Craghead, explained that she could resign and leave with a good reference and unemployment or she could fight the request and see her compensation reduced to nothing.
The elected office of city clerk is a non-pay position in Commerce. Craghead's compensation is based on other city responsibilities that she has been assigned.
“I was devastated,” Craghead said. “I regret signing the resignation … but I was afraid of not having an income.”
Johnson confirmed Tuesday that he did ask for Craghead's resignation at the request of the city mayor and said the closed-door meeting was intended to give the clerk an opportunity to leave with as little embarrassment as possible.
Johnson said the city could have approached Craghead with plans to initiate a recall effort for neglect of duties but, instead, asked for her resignation.
Hours after signing a brief resignation letter, Craghead submitted a letter in which she rescinded her resignation, denied the allegations against her and asked to meet with the city council.
Mayor Hart declined to comment on the personnel matter and referred all questions to Johnson.
Craghead may have an opportunity to discuss her resignation and plead her case before the council today as the officials will gather for a 5:30 p.m. special meeting today.
According to state law, Craghead may have eliminated her opportunity to rescind her resignation when she announced that her resignation was to take affect immediately.
The allow allows for a resignation to be withdrawn “at any time prior to the effective date.”
The same law, from Title 11, requires that a municipal officer's resignation be submitted to the governing public body during a public meeting or to the municipal clerk during business hours.
Craghead said she was asked for her resignation after business hours and she believes that her request to rescind her resignation and the letter of resignation will come before the council at the same time - opening a window for both to be considered.