VAIL — Newcomers claimed three of four available seats in this year’s Town Council election. Of the two incumbents running among the seven candidates, Greg Moffet won another term, with fellow incumbent Susie Tjossem finishing fifth.
Jenn Bruno was the top vote-earner, with 568. That total gave Bruno a four-year term. The other four-year terms went to Dave Chapin, with 555 votes, and Moffet, with 458. Dale Bugby finished fourth, with 386 votes, earning a two-year term.
Bugby, among the most vocal of the council’s critics regarding its approach to replacing the clubhouse and 18th hole at the Vail golf course, said he’s eager to get to work.
“I’m glad to be on the council with these other new faces,” Bugby said by phone from an election-night celebration at Bart & Yeti’s restaurant in Lionshead. “I don’t think there’s any (personal) agenda right now ... But we’ve got plenty on the table, and I’m anxious to get to work.”
Bruno, Chapin and Moffet were all at another election-night party at the Bully Ranch in the Sonnenalp Hotel.
Bruno, who acknowledged she’s rarely at a loss for words, said the results of Tuesday’s election left her speechless — mostly.
“I’m completely overwhelmed,” Bruno said. “I moved here 20 years ago, and I always knew it was home. I’m ready to give back to Vail what it’s given to me.”
Moffet said the election results were a “huge relief.”
“I worked really hard for this,” he said. “I’m delighted with the results, and I’m looking forward to serving with this council.”
Chapin was similarly excited about getting to work with the new council.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the great job the council has done over the years, and continuing going in the direction that’s made Vail the greatest resort in the world,” Chapin said.
‘Keep it going’
While voter turnout wasn’t high in Vail on Tuesday, a steady stream of voters came to town hall throughout the afternoon. Many seemed satisfied with the direction the current council has taken the town.
“I’m here to re-affirm the work that’s been done,” resident Karl Fauland said. “I want to keep it going.”
Voter Vince Kuhn said he, too, is satisfied overall with the work the current council has been doing. Voting on election day “is just something I do,” he said.
Resident Erna Feller said voting is simply something people do in a democracy.
“I’m a citizen and I live in Vail, so I vote,” she said.
While reasonably satisfied with the town government, Clare Hefferren said she came to town hall to cast her vote for the town’s future.
“I’m passionate about getting out the 30- and 40-something vote,” she said. Hefferren said she hopes the new council will pay more attention to the committees it appoints. Hefferren’s business has twice been selected to provide services by those committees, only to have those decisions overruled by council.
“I would like to see them delegate more,” Hefferren said.
With the exception of Bugby, the other winning candidates Tuesday had all said they want the council to mostly continue down the path set in the past few years.
Bugby, though, had been more critical of the job council had done, saying the group was too quick to make decisions and too often makes decisions based on staff recommendations rather than public input. “The council needs to be more neighborly,” he frequently said during the campaign.
The seeming satisfaction with the council’s direction was also something of a rebuke to other golf course critics. Some of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the town over the clubhouse plan put more than $6,000 into the campaigns of Bugby and Sounia Nejad Chaney, who finished sixth Tuesday.
A still-unidentified group called “Citizens for Responsible Government” also purchased five full-page ads in the Vail Daily detailing the council’s alleged missteps, and endorsing Bugby, Nejad Chaney and Chapin.
The complaints about the council’s communication with the public did have some resonance. Every candidate vowed to help the council be more open to public comments and complaints.