Jane Newberry is certainly no newcomer to Green Mountain Falls’ politics, town hall operations and the community.
A lifelong resident in the area, she was first appointed to the board of trustees about 10 years ago, and has served consecutively for the last decade as a trustee, mayor pro tem and a liaison to nearly every city office. Newberry also boasts of her long-time involvement in the community, going to school at Ute Pass Elementary and graduating from Colorado College. She currently works as the budget manager for Colorado College Athletics.
As for her main reasons for running for mayor, Newberry contends, “We can do better. I can fix this.” She admits frustration over the circus-like proceedings and often disorderly local meetings, but refers to some to these arguments as “a small blip in the history of Green Mountain Falls. It is a very minor thing, when it comes to the big picture.”
Newberry cites her lengthy experience on the board and her ability to work with lean budgets. “I am a very goal-oriented person,” said the mayoral candidate, who believes she can play a key role in uniting the town more by concentrating on set objectives. “I am a collaborative person,” said Newberry.
The mayor pro tem believes infrastructure projects and civic improvements are the biggest needs, stemming from last summer’s devastating, record-breaking flood. Newberry is a big advocate of pursuing needed park improvements and doing enhancements around the lake, along with continuing to concentrate on roads and bridges. “We had people who were isolated (as a result of last summer’s flood).” She also has big hopes about the new $800,000 town hall project. “It has the potential to be a jewel for our community. We are able to do this without raising taxes,” she added.
And contrary to some perceptions, Newberry says the forthcoming facility, which should be completed by Labor Day or early fall, is quite modest.
Marshal and law enforcement
Newberry doesn’t favor bringing back the marshal’s office, which was shut down last November following the exit of Marshal Tim Bradley. Instead, she supports exploring the possibility of forming a cooperative law enforcement agreement with El Paso County. “Let’s see how it works. Let’s give it a chance,” said the mayor pro tem.
She believes the town will get just as good service, if not better, under an intergovernmental agreement and possibly a sheriff’s substation. In addition, Newberry cites certain El Paso County Sheriff Department volunteer programs, such as citizen patrols, as steps residents can take to better equip their neighborhoods.
Newberry agrees with the view of the majority of the current trustees that GMF can’t afford a marshal’s office. In reality, she admits town leaders should have pulled the plug on the agency a number of years ago. “We haven’t been able to afford the coverage (of full-time marshal’s office) for some time. We have to spend the town’s money the best way we can.” In addition, with a marshal’s office, Newberry contends that residents are getting double taxed for local law enforcement services.
Jane Newberry is the main architect of a plan to promote Public Works Director Robert McArthur into the new job as GMF Town Manager.
Newberry played the main role in developing a several year contract for McArthur and establishing the duties of the job. This position and the overall contract is being challenged by a citizens’ referendum, which will be decided by the voters on May 20.
“I am very pro-employee,” said Newberry, in explaining her support for the town manager concept. “This is a good thing for our employees and it’s a good thing for the citizens.” She also supports the decision to appoint McArthur, who hasn’t had great relationship with the mayor, because of a desire to promote from “within your own ranks. We should reward our employees,” added Newberry, who lauds McArthur for succeeding in bringing thousands of dollars of grants to the town and in revamping its public works agency.
And if GMF made this into a competitive job offering and sought other applicants, she noted that the town would get hit with a request for funds it didn’t have. “This isn’t costing us anything extra. It really comes down to a new title (for McArthur). “Let’s try this out and see what happens,” said Newberry.
Newberry has mixed views regarding the use of social media for the town, a subject sparking much heated discussion over the last year. The candidate supports efforts to tighten up some of its procedures, such as how citizen input is handled at local meetings and in not releasing certain confidential documents, prior to a board hearing. She also objects to many of the social media posts done by Worthey, questioning the accuracy of certain comments aired on Facebook.
At the same time, she supports the live-streaming of meetings and developing a more comprehensive social media policy. As for other attributes, the mayoral candidate contends she has a much better relationship with the GMF employees than her opponent. “They make things happen,” said Newberry in praising the work of McArthur, City Clerk Chris Frandina and other employees.