Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham has stripped Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, from serving on any active Senate committees effective as of May 2. Grantham requested the change after workplace harassment allegations from nine people have been found credible by two outside investigators.
“Please be advised immediately I am removing Senator Randy Baumgardner from Capital Development Committee, Transportation Legislation Review Committee, Water Resources Review Committee, and Wildfire Matters Review Committee,” stated Grantham in a letter (PDF) to Mike Mauer, the nonpartisan director of the Legislative Council.
In a separate letter, Majority Leader Chris Holbert appointed Sen. John Cooke (PDF), R-Greeley, as vice chair of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. Unlike the House, the Senate does not require a member to serve on any committees.
The changes impact the committees that meet during the interim and remain in place until the next Senate president and majority leader are selected during the 2019 legislative session. One leadership team cannot bind the next, and Grantham is term limited.
Baumgardner survived a Democratic-led expulsion vote on April 2. It hinged on the findings of just one of the three investigations, which concluded that he more likely than not grabbed and slapped a former legislative aide’s buttocks.
“Nothing has shifted or changed in that regard,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Leroy Garcia.
He said he still believes Baumgardner should not hold office.
“The behavior is unacceptable, un-welcomed and will not be tolerated,” he said.
The latest investigations from Littleton Alternative Dispute Resolution Inc. found allegations that Baumgardner created a hostile and offensive workplace in 2016 to be credible. Grantham said earlier that he would not ask Baumgardner to resign over the allegations. Baumgardner has denied wrongdoing.
“If we’re done and there’s no more consequences. I’m astonished,” said the male non-partisan Senate staffer who filed one of the complaints. “Removal from committees doesn’t mean anything to anybody except the Senator.”
Editor’s Note: We added that Randy Baumgardner is only being removed from active committees meeting over the summer. He still technically serves on the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee and the Transportation committee, which are not meeting.
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