Avon Town Council meeting gets testy as Jennie Fancher levels accusations at Jake Wolf over recall effort
Wolf's response: 'Weren't you the one who cursed someone out at a meeting last week?'
AVON — Avon Town Council meetings have been tense in recent months, with councilmembers levying accusations at one another and frequent breakdowns in decorum taking place in front of the camera.
On Oct. 20, Councilmember Jennie Fancher, the former mayor, delivered a profanity-laden tirade into living rooms, raising her voice in an exchange with Avon resident Michael Cacioppo in regard to his involvement in the recent recall effort against councilmembers. “God d—– Michael, stop being such an a——,” Fancher told Cacioppo during the public comment portion of the meeting.
During Tuesday’s meeting, things had gone mostly well until Councilmember Chico Thuon accused Councilmember Tamra Underwood of rolling her eyes at him, but Underwood thoroughly explained how the eye-rolling had been misinterpreted, and everyone moved on.
The atmosphere remained calm until the end of the meeting, during the comments section, where councilmembers are free to discuss anything that’s on their minds. Fancher had a speech prepared, which some may have thought would be an apology for her outburst the week before.
But that was not the case. Instead, Fancher doubled down on her irritation with the recall effort, this time turning her comments toward Councilmember Jake Wolf, who signed the petition himself and helped another citizen sign it.
Fancher said Wolf “circulated and signed petitions to recall members of this council” and was “actively involved in the recall,” something she described as “truly despicable” and “beyond disgraceful.”
Wolf said the accusations were false, and that Jennie Fancher was “once again, off on a wild tangent of inaccuracies.”
Wolf said he was not actively involved in the recall and circulated one petition, which Cacioppo had left at his house and directed another person to sign while Wolf was having a garage sale.
“I signed a petition to allow people to choose, to have a choice,” he said.
‘Civility is critical’
Fancher said citizens are seeing a lack of civility around the nation “and right here in our small town,” and “civility is critical and should be fostered by our elected officials and community leaders.”
Wolf said Fancher has selective amnesia when it comes to her own lack of civility.
“Weren’t you the one who cursed someone out at a meeting last week?” Wolf said in response.
Fancher said Wolf displayed a lack of civility and dishonorable behavior starting in 2016 when he began expressing disappointment in the fact that the council did not vote him in as mayor.
At that 2016 meeting, Jennie Fancher’s husband, Gil Fancher, spoke to a crowded room, after hearing nine community members speak out in favor of Wolf for mayor.
“She loves it, she does a great job, she’s passionate about it,” Gil Fancher said of his wife.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, Wolf said Gil Fancher had words for him once again on behalf of his wife, only this time over a text message, and in a threatening tone.
“I can’t believe I ever thought you were a friend I can’t wait to see you in person,” the message reads.
The Vail Daily asked Wolf to provide a screengrab of the text exchange, which he did. He said he interpreted Gil Fancher’s texts as a threat.
“What a way to begin and end a term — not just with Jennie but with Gil,” Wolf said. “It’s crazy.”
Candidate vs council comments
Following Fancher and Wolf’s speeches, Councilmember Amy Phillips used the comments section of the meeting to make references to her campaign for re-election.
Phillips took issue with a Vail Daily Editorial Board endorsement that accused her of bad timing the week before, during the “citizens requests for public comments” section of the meeting, which is a perennial forum for candidates running for office in Avon and Eagle County.
While the timing was awkward as Phillips’ campaign speech directly followed Fancher’s curse-laden tirade, Phillips’ speech did come during the part of the meeting where it’s appropriate for a councilmember to reference their campaign. The councilor comments section, where Phillips referenced her candidacy on Tuesday, is not such an appropriate place to reference a campaign, however.
A local attorney acknowledged that those running against Phillips could file a Fair Campaign Practices Act complaint against Phillips for use of town resources.
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