Eight-year glitch to remain | VailDaily.com

Eight-year glitch to remain

Stephen Lloyd Wood

Many people believe next month’s special election could solve a glitch of sorts in the town of Vail’s election system – but fact is, it won’t.

The candidate who is elected to fulfill the remaining term of Ludwig Kurz on the Vail Town Council can do nothing at all – not even resign early – to fix the oddball term.

“This upcoming election only can fill the remainder of Ludwig’s term,” says Suzanne Silverthorn, spokeswoman for the town of Vail, adding that no matter what, the new councilman’s term will end in November 2005, just a year and eight months after he is sworn in Feb. 3.

The glitch was created on Jan. 30, 1996, when Kurz was first elected to office, defeating W.B. Chester in a run-off contest to replace Peggy Osterfoss, who resigned Nov 27, 1995. Kurz’s first term of office ran to Nov. 1997.

Two years later, in November 1999, another mayor, Rob Ford resigned, fulfilling his two-year term as mayor but leaving his four-year term uncompleted. The November regular elections, in which four seats normally would have been up for grabs, also were used to fill Ford’s seat, and the council voted to name Kurz as mayor for two years, with then-Councilwoman Sybill Navas to serve two years as mayor pro-tem.

As Kurz’s four-year term on the council expired, he again ran for re-election in the regular election of November 2001, earning enough votes – as third-highest vote-getter – for yet another four-year term on council, and the council again elected him mayor for the next two years, with Rod Slifer as mayor pro-tem.

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However, because Kurz was first elected Jan. 30, 1996, to fill the unexpired term of Osterfoss – and because the Town Charter says a council member can only serve eight consecutive years at a time – Kurz can serve two years and nine months of his current four-year council term, or until the eighth anniversary of the day he took office.

So, as it turns out, Kurz – who received substantial criticism in some circles for not resigning his council seat before last month’s election – is the only person who could have done away with the glitch.

“It’s really nobody’s concern right now,” says Silverthorn, adding the town’s attorney, Matt Mire, is studying the matter.