Minturn gets two new town councilors
Vail CO, Colorado
MINTURN ” Four candidates showed up to vie for open seats on the Minturn Town Council ” two got them after town councilors voted by secret ballot Wednesday.
Councilors picked long-time residents Aggie Martinez and Lorraine Haslee to serve two-year terms until 2010, when they will be up for reelection. Minturn does not have term limits.
“It’s great that we have more candidates than spots,” Town Councilman Matt Scherr said.
As opposed to an election that guaranteed all but one candidate a seat in April, more choices were available at the Minturn Town Council meeting Wednesday night. Only one new councilman, Scherr, was elected last April, and only one candidate lost in that election.
But with resignations in June of Kelly Brinkerhoff and long-time councilman Bill Burnett, who died shortly after at age 87, councilors had 30 days to select new ones.
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So they peppered candidates with questions such as whether they had conflicts of interest, where they get their information about the town and what they thought the role of the Town Council was.
Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty even asked Haslee whether she worked well with children after she described her experience as a librarian for Vail Mountain School.
“Yes, I do,” she said to a laugh. “I hope so.”
Haslee, a Minturn resident since 1979, said she was inspired to lead by Minturn’s former leaders, Harold Bellm and Bill Burnett and his brother, Pete Burnett, who were good at getting others to help out the town.
The role of the council is to enact the “wishes and wills of people” it serves, she said.
Asked what she would do if she were queen, Haslee said she would make the town affordable so residents could stay.
Martinez, who has lived in Minturn more than 45 years, nervously told the council he was a better listener than a speaker.
“I don’t get around very much,” said Martinez, who is retired. “I just mostly stay at home and do a lot of fishing.”
But Martinez quickly relaxed, despite the job interview-like atmosphere, and articulated his views on issues and the skills he would bring to the town. He gets most of his information about the town by talking to residents, and he hopes to bring their good ideas to the council, he said.
“The best thing is to listen to the people,” he said. “The people are the ones that you’re going to be working for.”
Shane Sorenson, a Minturn resident for 22 years, and John Rosenfeld, owner of Johnie’s Gardens in Minturn and a resident since 1995, applied but were not chosen. Haslee won on the first vote, but Rosenfeld and Martinez tied, forcing a second vote.
Haslee and Martinez held their right hands in the air as they were sworn in. They promised to faithfully perform their duties in public office and they immediately took their seats on council.
Town councilors considered seven candidates for two-year terms on Minturn’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Two new candidates, architect Stuart Brummett and former county commissioner and longtime resident Michael Gallagher, were appointed.
Incumbent Planning Commissioner Lynn Teach and Chairman Woody Woodruff were re-appointed.
The Planning Commission candidates faced similar scrutiny in interviews with councilors. Would they bend the rules to make a proposed building work or would they enforce those rules? Flaherty asked.
Skirting the rules in the past has led to some properties not being built to code, Woodruff said.
“We’ve got to be consistent,” he said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 970-748-2931 or email@example.com.