AVON – Avon city council meetings have been tense in recent months, with council members accusing each other and frequent breaks in decorum taking place in front of the camera.
On October 20, council member Jennie Fancher, the former mayor, delivered a profanity-laden tirade in the living rooms, raising her voice during an exchange with Michael Cacioppo, a resident of Avon, about his involvement. in the recent recall effort against board members. “My God, Michael, stop being an if one—” Fancher told Cacioppo during the public comment portion of the meeting.
During Tuesday’s meeting, things had gone pretty well until board member Chico Thuon accused board member Tamra Underwood of rolling her eyes at him, but Underwood explained in detail how the rollover eyes had been misinterpreted, and everyone moved on.
The atmosphere remained calm until the end of the meeting, in the comments section, where board members are free to discuss anything that concerns them. Fancher had prepared a speech, which some may have thought was an excuse for his outburst the week before.
But it was not. Instead, Fancher redoubled his irritation at the recall effort, this time turning his comments to council member Jake Wolf, who himself signed the petition and helped another citizen sign it.
Fancher said Wolf “circulated and signed petitions to remove members of this council” and was “actively involved in the recall,” something she described as “truly despicable” and “beyond shameful”.
Wolf said the accusations were false and that Jennie Fancher was “once again, on a wild tangent of inaccuracies”.
Wolf said he was not actively involved in the recall and circulated a petition, which Cacioppo left at home and asked someone else to sign while Wolf held a garage sale.
“I signed a petition to allow people to choose, to have the choice,” he said.
“Civility is essential”
Fancher said citizens see a lack of civility in the country “and right here in our small town” and that “civility is essential and should be nurtured by our elected officials and community leaders.”
Wolf said Fancher suffers from selective amnesia when it comes to his own lack of civility.
“Weren’t you the one who cursed someone in a meeting last week?” Wolf said in response.
Fancher said Wolf exhibited a lack of civility and dishonorable behavior from 2016, when he began to express his disappointment that the council had not elected him mayor.
At that 2016 meeting, Jennie Fancher’s husband Gil Fancher addressed a crowded room, after hearing nine community members speak out in favor of Wolf for mayor.
“She loves it, she does a great job, she is passionate about it,” Gil Fancher said of his wife.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Wolf said Gil Fancher had words for him again on behalf of his wife, but this time via text and in a threatening tone.
“I can’t believe I ever thought you were a friend, can’t wait to see you in person,” the post read.
The Vail Daily asked Wolf to provide a screenshot of the text exchange, which he did. He said he interpreted Gil Fancher’s texts as a threat.
“What a way to start and end a tenure – not just with Jennie but with Gil,” Wolf said. “It’s crazy.”
Candidate’s comments against the board
Following Fancher and Wolf’s speeches, board member Amy Phillips used the comments section of the meeting to reference her campaign for re-election.
Phillips challenged an endorsement by the Vail Daily editorial board that accused him of timing improperly the week before, during the “citizens’ requests for public comment” section of the meeting, which is a permanent forum for citizens. candidates running for Avon and Eagle County.
While the timing was ill-timed as Phillips ‘campaign speech directly followed Fancher’s curse-laden tirade, Phillips’ speech took place during the portion of the meeting where it is appropriate for a board member to refer to his campaign. The advisers’ comments section, where Phillips referred to his candidacy on Tuesday, however, is not such a suitable place to refer to a campaign.
A local attorney has acknowledged that those who come forward against Phillips can file a Fair Campaign Practices Act complaint against Phillips for using city resources.