Lorrie Worthey burst onto the GMF political scene two years ago, when she won a bid as mayor, defeating long-time resident and civic leader Dick Bratton.
Worthey, though, isn’t a newcomer to the area, having livied in the GMF area for nearly 20 years. Plus, her husband, Marshall Worthey, previously served as a trustee. The two got strongly involved in GMF politics and city affairs, following the town hall arson fire of 2012.
Worthey previously served as the regional director of the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) international organization and worked as a teacher. She currently homeschools an extended family, consisting of four children, including two kids adopted from the Philippines.
Worthey is seeking a second-term largely because she feels she can make a difference and is encouraged by a few of the candidates for trustee positions, and the prospects of a ‘changing of the guard.’ “We have some new people that are stepping up and that is very encouraging.” Although she has faced a tough two years, with much infighting among the current trustees, Worthey wants to continue her push for more government transparency and citizen involvement. “I don’t want to quit what I started. This is a really good opportunity for me,” related Worthey.
Worthey cites public safety as her number one priority if re-elected. With the Waldo Canyon fire, the devastating flood of last summer and other disasters, she contends that GMF needs to prepare better for emergencies and address its law enforcement needs. Plus, she is worried about the occasional serious crime incidents that inflict GMF, such as the assault on a former female police sergeant and home break-ins. “We are going to have a big influx of people this summer and we need to be prepared,” said Worthey. “We need to make public safety a high priority.”
Marshal and Law Enforcement
She strongly opposes the board’s majority decision to terminate its marshal’s office and to have El Paso County take over its law enforcement duties. Moreover, she is more bothered by the way some of these decisions were handled behind closed doors. “ Green Mountain Falls has always had a marshal’s office. It doesn’t make sense that we can’t have one now,” said the mayor.
Worthey wants to re-establish a marshal’s office of some kind and believes the town trustees have not adequately examined the town’s budget in order to make this a reality. “We have to take a look at things we don’t need,” said Worthey, who cited some of the expenses in the public works agency as possible ones that can be avoided. “We need to do more priority-based budgeting,” said the mayor.
She also is baffled by statements that the marshal’s office didn’t make any money for GMF. “Law enforcement agencies aren’t supposed to make money. You can’t put a price on public safety,” said Worthey.
The mayor doesn’t necessarily endorse a marshal’s office as extensive as what it had been in the past, but believes the local presence of a town marshal’s office is supported by most business owners and residents.
Worthey supports the current Concerned Citizens of Green Mountain Falls referendum, filed against the ordinance establishing a town manager position and giving this slot to Robert McArthur. “Why do we need a town manager if we can’t afford a marshal’s department?” questioned the mayor.
More importantly, she says she is upset by the way the town manager ordinance was rushed through the process, with the knowledge that a new board would be in place in early April. “Our people (local citizens) aren’t happy,” said Worthey, in describing opposition to the town manager plan.
Worthey contends she isn’t against the concept of a town manager, but is troubled by the way the plan was approved and questions a number of aspects of the contract, crafted by her opponent. “It doesn’t look good. This was rushed through,” said the mayor.
Worthey is a big supporter of social media and is against recent decisions to clamp down more on the citizen input process. Worthey said she welcomes public input and cites the fact that Green Mountain Falls is still a small, friendly town.
She also is known for her frequent Facebook and blog postings. But some of these postings have raised the ire of her peers, who complain she uses these outlets to trounce people who disagree with her stand on issues. Worthey, though, disagrees with these allegations, and says many of her postings are done to help promote the town and local businesses. The mayor believes this is the wave of the future and would like to see the town do more in the area of live-streaming government meetings and activities, and in developing a Facebook forum for comments. “I would like to take it (the town’s social media activities) to the next level,” said Worthey, who also wants to establish better relations with the business community.
Worthey contends that she has learned much from her initial two years in office and has developed important contacts with regional leaders, such as El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark. She also says she has acquired some thick skin. “It has been a struggle at times. I have had to deal with a fire and flood, a (trustee) walkout and board members standing up and yelling at meetings. I am ready for another two years.”