“You want a piece of me?” -Barrentine

Aside from regularly antagonizing and chastising both City employees and citizens she disagrees with who appear before Council, on August 15, 2016, Council Member Barrentine took her aggressive and unprofessional behavior to new heights. While returning to a Council meeting from an executive Council session, she stated to Englewood City Manager, “you want a piece of me?” This type of conduct would not be tolerated in any workplace in America and it should not be tolerated on our City Council. Manager Keck relays the story to all of Council in the following video clip from a public meeting while imploring Council to address the dysfunctional dynamic perpetuated by Member Barrentine.

Take a look at the video of the incident for yourself below. The statement is made in the last several seconds of the video (turn your volume up):

 

 

 

Stirring up Conflict in the Community

Ms. Barrentine’s track record of stirring up discord and division on council is well known, but the problem is actually much worse than that. Ms. Barrentine has been actively inciting conflict between neighbors, between neighboring businesses and between residents and city staff.

In order to do this, Ms. Barrentine will either find or manufacture a grievance between two parties in the community. Then she’ll take the side of whichever party is the loudest and angriest. Then she’ll do whatever is in her power to attack the other side regardless of legal or ethical boundaries. Her unethical tactics include personal attacks, false accusations and treating gossip and hearsay as fact. She will make accusations against constituents and businesses in her district from the dias or in study sessions, publicly slandering people she is supposed to be representing. She has circumvented the chain of command to unduly influence city staff in direct violation of the charter.

This is malfeasance of the highest order. Of course, she doesn’t often win these battles, but they are very costly to the city in terms of time wasted, growing discord, distrust, and unrest in the community.

Many residents of District 3 are fed up with the fighting and division. At the same time, the few residents Ms. Barrentine has sided with seem to see her as a kind of savior. A responsible council member initiates inquiries on a constiuent’s behalf through the City Manager’s office so as not to exercise undue influence on Code Enforcement and other city departments. Ms. Barrentine should do the same; she does not. Instead, she attempts to exercise undue influence to curry favor with a small but vocal minority of angry people, who in turn defend her (often using the same attack tactics she does) and speak of her with genuflecting reverence.

That is exactly the kind of conflict we don’t need. The growing sense of anger and discontent in Englewood, and especially in District 3, has to end. We need to replace Ms. Barrentine with a council member who will lead District 3 toward a culture of mutual respect, dialog and decency.

 

 

 

 

Cloak & Dagger

Secrecy, collusion and false accusations are regular tactics used by Ms. Barrentine to harass citizens and city staff and obstruct city business. This was displayed in high relief at the March 5, 2018 council meeting. The video is included below, but a little context will help before you watch it.

What is EEF?

The Civic Center is overseen by the Englewood Environmental Foundation (EEF), a semi-autonomous, non-governmental entity that holds ownership of the property formerly a part of Cinderella City. EEF manages leases and makes financial and legal decisions regarding the property and has since the late 1990’s.

These kind of entities are occasionally created to manage government sponsored redevelopment projects (the City of Denver used a similar structure to oversee the redevelopment of Stapleton). As stated by the Villager in a March 2016 article, “The reason for such independent landlords, according to Keck and other Englewood officials, would be to avoid direct legal culpability to the city if something were to go awry in a commercial portion of government-sponsored development.”

Barrentine’s Vendetta

Since joining council in 2015, Ms. Barrentine has been on a mission to find financial improprieties or other illegal activities she believed EEF may have committed. City Manager Keck looked into the accusations made by Barrentine in 2016 and didn’t see any problems, but since he wasn’t a neutral party, he went ahead and turned over financial documents and legal documents to the DA and asked for an official investigation.

The DA did a thorough investigation of EEF (as well as EMRF, another Englewood foundation) and provided the following response on April 14, 2017:

I have reviewed information provided to the District Attorney’s Office in the above mentioned matter. I have assessed the provided materials; along with discussions had with past and present City employees did not amount to evidence that would support a criminal investigation.

No further investigation is warranted in this matter.

That last sentence should have put this matter to rest: “No further investigation is warranted in this matter.” But that wasn’t good enough for Ms. Barrentine. So, sometime after this (we still don’t know exactly when, since she dodged the question several times in the council meeting– see the video below), Ms. Barrentine and Ms. Russell went to the DA to get more information and were able to obtain a 25 page detailed report.

Ms. Barrentine and Ms. Russell’s subsequent behavior is truly bizarre. If they thought there was something in the DA’s detailed report that warranted council action, they should have immediately brought the report to the other council members. If they believed there was something in the report that did actually warrant a criminal investigation, then they should have immediately brought that to the DA’s attention and pushed for further investigation. Instead, they kept the report a secret for many months.

Performance Audit or Forensic Audit?

In the meantime, the city attorney and administrative team looked into ways to reevaluate the role of EEF and EMRF. The resulting suggestion was to do a performance audit. This would help city council know if these foundations are performing the function they are supposed to and meeting the city’s goals.

So on March 5, city staff brought a request to council to approve a performance audit of these two foundations. If the DA’s conclusion was correct, then this is exactly what is needed to further study the efficacy of EEf and EMRF. And that is the crux of the issue. Not satisfied by the results of the DA’s first criminal investigation, Ms. Barrentine wants another criminal investigation — that’s what a forensic audit is for. And she doesn’t appear to have any evidence that would warrant such an investigation. She wants to find someone who did something wrong and stick it to them.

The citizens of Englewood want our city council members to make wise decisions that guide our city to a strong future. We don’t need wannabe prosecutors who waste city resources trying to dig up dirt from the past. Lets bring an end to the secrecy, collusion and witch hunts and recall Ms. Barrentine.

 

 

Obstructing City Budgets

Our city needs council members who will make constructive contributions to discussion. Instead, Ms. Barrentine obstructs necessary measures to maintaining basic levels of function in the city.

Ms. Barrentine opposed the adoption of the 2018 budget (see pages 5-6 of the meeting minutes), maintaining that the budget was not balanced. In fact, it was.

Ms. Barrentine did the same in 2017.

False Accusations: Giving Heart

On February 26, 2018, Ms. Barrentine launched an unprovoked and slanderous attack on Giving Heart, a local nonprofit that assists homeless Englewood residents.

View the Study Session here. Ms. Barrentine’s attack begins around the 2:50:00 mark, and paints a picture of Giving Heart as a public nuisance and a hotbed of criminal activity: drugs, violence, the whole works.

Ms. Barrentine’s claims are lies and distortions throughout. The Englewood Police Department’s assessment of activity around Giving Heart paints a very different picture: “I conclude there is no evidence to substantiate the claim of criminal activity due to Giving Heart being located in this block. Nor is there evidence showing Giving Heart to be deemed a nuisance property.”