Protest held to shame former commissioner

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Former District 2 County Commissioner John Odom was the subject of a protest (and two parody songs) in front of the Jefferson County courthouse and administrative building on March 26.

The dozen protesters were calling on Odom to be held accountable for missing the last seven weeks of county meetings drawing on his salary and benefits — costing taxpayers an estimated $15,500.

“This is all we can do,” protest organizer Judy Denison said, acknowledging that since Odom broke no law when he abandoned his post, shaming him had become their only recourse.

“We hope it’ll be on Google any time people look him up, and that other politicians think twice before doing this,” Denison said.

Dressed in stars, stripes, and 100 pounds of musical instruments, Bob O’Luney’s One Man Band (also known as Bob Haworth) helped perform the protest songs. The first, sang to the tune of “Working on the Railroad,” begins: “Odom wasn’t working at the courthouse, all the livelong day; He walked right off his job, and still collected pay.”

The second song, a riff on “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” features the chorus “Just pay back, pay back, please pay back the money you owe John O.”

To return the money, the protesters suggested that Odom donate $15,500 to the Jefferson Center for Mental Health, since that agency had its funding cut by $140,000 due to budget constraints last year.

The protest organizers say that such an issue transcends political affiliation, and deals directly with morality and ethics.

Odom, who ran and lost for state senate District 20 in 2010, had been appointed to Jeffco’s 2nd commissioner’s district in March 2011 to fill the seat left vacant by Kevin McCaskey. He ran for election in 2012 against Democrat Casey Tighe, and though Odom held a lead at the end of Election Night, by the time all oversea and provisional ballots had been tallied, it was Tighe who had won by 738 votes.

Odom only attended one county commissioner meeting following the election, and stopped attending the other boards and commissions he had been appointed to, even though Tighe was not to be sworn in until the following January.

The former commissioner has not responded to numerous requests for comment, including for this story.

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