Swank hangs tough in face of the recall

Thursday, March 3, 2011 5:30 PM

Cortez, a City in Recall, is a five-part series spotlighting four Cortez city councilors and the mayor whom opponents are seeking to oust through a May 3 recall election.

By Reid Wright

Journal Staff Writer

A self-described “civic-minded tax payer,” City Councilor Betty Swank said she is not backing down in the face of a recall election in May.

“They can vote me out, but I’m not resigning,” she said. “I’ve been a good city council person. I’ve not done anything that would warrant recall. I’ve not cheated, lied or stole and (voters) either want to retain me or they don’t and that’s strictly up to them.”

Instead, Swank said she wants to finish out her term and wrap up projects started by the council such as the renovation of the municipal pool.

Swank has served on the council since the spring of 2008. She says she ran for the position because no one else was running and she felt she had no right to complain unless she came forward to run herself.

She also works at Citizens State Bank in Cortez where she said she works operations and data processing. Some of her skills from the bank are transferable to work on the city council, she said.

“I think it takes common sense to do both,” she said. “I do a lot of balancing-type work and financial-type balancing so I suppose that entails me to some degree of knowledge about some of the things that we go over at city council.”

In 2008, Swank voted in support of the extension of Tucker Lane and utilities into the Flaugh-Clark subdivision. The project has now topped $325,000 in cost to the city and has become a rallying point for recall proponents.

Swank said she supported the measure because it was her understanding that the Tucker Lane thoroughfare was the best place to put a future traffic signal light at the intersection of North Dolores Road. She also said the city had already invested significant resources in the project.

“My understanding was that there was already a contract obligation made by the city or the previous city council,” she said. “There had been money and time spent on this. It sounded to me that it was since 2006. I didn’t see any sense in throwing away what had already been done.”

Lastly, Swank said with the economic downturn, she feels this would be the cheapest time to build the project.

“If I had to vote on it again, I’d do exactly the same thing,” she said.

Proponents of the recall have criticized the current city council for not banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. However, in July of last year, Swank was the only councilor to back Tom Butler’s motion to send the issue of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits to voters in November’s election.

Swank said she would rather not respond to allegations of recall proponents.

“I’m not sure what kind of spit balls they’ve really thrown at us, other than a lot of petty things,” she said. “I don’t want to throw spit balls back. I think this is the American way. They want us recalled. We don’t think we should be recalled.”

The municipal recall election is scheduled for May 3.

Reach Reid Wright at