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Six new Florence City Council members sworn in following historic mass-resignation

FLORENCE, Colo. (KRDO) -- After nearly five months without a functioning governing body, the City of Florence now has six new council members.

The former city council members resigned en mass last March after 13 Investigates uncovered a sexual harassment scandal and missing taxpayer money at City Hall. At the time, the then council members said they were unable to get a third-party investigation into corruption allegations.

Monday night, the sentiment from the new council members was moving forward and doing things right. They were optimistic about charting a new path for the small city and putting the scandals in the past.

“You’ve got to take care of the things that have happened in the past but we don’t want to dwell on those," Florence Mayor Pro Tem, Steve Wolfe said.

The city is still looking for a permanent City Manager after Mike Patterson was fired last August after being accused of sexually harassing women who worked for him at City Hall. Patterson pleaded not guilty to felony stalking, misdemeanor sexual contact no consent, and another misdemeanor, providing alcohol to a minor.

He is now set to go to trial in December.

New council members said vetting a new manager to lead the city is a top priority.

“It is so important. So so important so I’d like to take the time to really vet the next person. And that person can’t be from this area," newly elected Councilwoman, Debbie Gibson said.

“There is reason to be wary. And so restoring faith and hope back into our city government and I think with the people who have been elected — we have really good chances of doing that," Councilwoman Johanna Nabors said.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed to 13 Investigates that it turned over investigative information related to its probe into corruption allegations in the Florence city government. That info is now in the hands of the 11th Judicial District Attorney, who will determine if charges will be filed.

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Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is the Assistant News Director for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.


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