Avon councilman bids brash farewell
In his feisty farewell speech, Cuny said he had a fabulous time on the town council, thanked some of his colleagues – and then blasted fellow-council members Pete and Debbie Buckley, whom he didn’t mention by name but with whom he has clashed constantly over the past couple of years.
Cuny ultimately warned Avon voters about the town council election in November in which Debbie Buckley will have to run for reelection.
“I urge you, don’t elect brothers. Don’t elect sisters and please, never again, elect a husband and wife,” said Cuny, who served at his last council meeting Tuesday night.
For the record, the Buckleys sometimes vote the same way, but they often disagree with each other.
Cuny also told voters they were fooled in the last election, when Pete Buckley won his first four-year term.
“I think you were bamboozled in the past election,” Cuny said. “If someone comes to your door promising you things, slam the door in their face. You’ll get bamboozled.”
Pete Buckley shot back at Cuny Tuesday by criticizing Cuny’s attendance record.
“Through the last two months, Mr. Rick Cuny has missed 55 percent of meetings,” Buckley said. “You should return to taxpayers the money for the meetings you didn’t attend.”
“You’re opinion never mattered to me,” replied Cuny, who said his absences in January and February had been officially excused by Mayor Judy Yoder.
Cuny, who owns Beaver Liquors in Avon, resigned earlier this month because he and his family have moved to Edwards. Avon law requires that council members be residents of the town. Cuny was about six months shy of completing his first four-year term.
This isn’t the first time Cuny has lashed out publicly against at least one of the Buckleys. In November, Cuny sharply criticized Pete Buckley for comments Buckley made in the Vail Daily about the council’s decision to eliminate its full-time town attorney’s position.
The decision was made in a closed-door meeting –also known as “”executive session” –and Cuny harangued Buckley for publicly discussing his and other council members’ displeasure with the elimination of the post.
“I think with all the stuff going on, with the Village at Avon and two new interstate exits and other potential issues, there are a lot of work hours out there for a full-time attorney,” Pete Buckley said in the Nov. 28 Vail Daily article.
Cuny said he was “sick and tired” of Pete Buckley trashing the rest of the council in the newspaper only to make himself look good.
“Then resign,” Pete Buckley told Cuny.
“I’d rather see you resign,” replied Cuny.
Debbie Buckley, meanwhile, came to her husband’s defense, agreeing him that that “we shouldn’t have made these decisions in executive session.”
In the end, it was Cuny who resigned.
Tuesday, Cuny had kind words for the other four Avon Town Council members, who had kind words for him.
“In addition to common sense, he has brought a sense of humor we have sometimes badly needed,” Yoder said.
Cuny thanked Yoder for keeping Avon’s council meetings short; he called fellow-councilman Mac McDevitt the “most intelligent” member of the town council; he said Town Manager Bill Efting was doing a “great job.”
“I don’t know a lot of town managers, but I think Bill Efting is very good,” Cuny said.
Then, with yet another poke at Pete Buckley, Cuny thanked councilman Buz Reynolds for where he sits on the council dais.
“I thank Buz for sitting next to me so I don’t have to sit next to Peter Buckley,” Cuny said.
He also recommended the job to anyone considering a run for the Town Council.
“I consider Avon not unique, but special because it’s a town of citizens,” Cuny said. “The town to the south (Beaver Creek) I consider a corporate town and the town to the east (Vail), I consider a merchants’ town. You hear their citizens complain, but I don’t think they have much weight with what happens.”
Cuny said he’ll stay involved in Avon politics.
“I still own property in Avon and I own two businesses in Avon,” he said. “Just because my family’s moved two miles west doesn’t mean we won’t be paying close attention to what’s going on Avon.”
Matt Zalaznick covers public safety, Eagle County Courts and Avon/ Beaver Creek. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 606 or via e-mail at email@example.com.