Beckstein quits City Council

Bonnie Beckstein, shown in this 2005 photo at a candidates forum, resigned from the City Council on Friday, three weeks after she was fired by the accounting firm Baldwin and Associates CPAs. Beckstein’s departure comes four days before Tuesday’s municipal election.

A second-term Grand Junction City Council member abruptly submitted her resignation Friday to city staff and other council members.

Bonnie Beckstein, best known on council as an advocate for small businesses, cited in her resignation letter “significant changes” in her personal life as a reason for stepping down from the post.

Beckstein did not return a call Friday for comment.

Council members are expected to appoint a replacement for Beckstein, who occupied the seat for District D, the city’s northeast quadrant. The term expires in 2013.

Beckstein, an accountant of at least 30 years with accounting company Baldwin & Associates CPAs, 800 Belford Ave., No. 100, was fired from her job about three weeks ago, Samuel Baldwin said.

At about that same time, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department opened an investigation into a “financial discrepancy” at the firm, Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said.

“We have not determined if a crime has been committed,” he said.

Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said his department received a report in late February or early March from a client of Baldwin & Associates, concerning a financial discrepancy.

Beckstein was associated with the account in question, Camper said. The case was referred to the Sheriff’s Department because of the conflict of interest concerning a council member, he said.

Camper said the allegation of impropriety is as much with the accounting firm as it is with Beckstein.

“It’s all wrapped up into one,” Camper said.

Baldwin said he could not comment on the investigation, nor on Beckstein’s firing.

Beckstein’s decision to leave council was a surprise to him, Baldwin said.

Beckstein’s departure comes four days before Tuesday’s municipal election, which will fill three seats on the seven-member board.

Council member Gregg Palmer, who is term-limited, said he would like to be part of the process to appoint a new council member. That will have to happen quickly, as council members elected Tuesday will begin their service in May.

Palmer said Beckstein’s sudden exit surprised him.

“She’s such a dedicated public servant. This decision could not have come lightly,” he said. “Council will miss her experience going forward.”

Beckstein established herself as a fiscal conservative. According to a biography on the city’s website, she served on the Mesa County Republican Women’s board and the Mesa County Republicans board.

She has been president of a parent-teacher organization, a member of parent advisory boards for several schools and a Girl Scout and Brownie troop leader.

City Manager Laurie Kadrich said Beckstein, as mayor pro tem, or second in charge behind the mayor, was instrumental in organizing schedules and agenda items for City Council.

Staff writer Paul Shockley contributed to this report.


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