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Minturn mayoral vote stands

Geraldine Haldner

Former Minturn Mayor Gordon OHawkeye1 Flaherty puttered around his house Wednesday evening.3I1ve got a lot of things to finish around the house, he said.New Minturn Mayor Earle Bidez took the oath at 7 p.m. and called his first council meeting to order.3I want to thank everyone who supported me and I will work hard to gain the trust of the people that voted for Hawk, he said.Wednesday evening marked the beginning of a new routine for both men, whose fate as mayoral candidates was decided in the town1s Tuesday election by the slimmest margin possible<one vote.Bidez, who last served on the council in 1998, got 111 votes; Flaherty, Minturn1s mayor for the past four years, got 110.Interestingly, two of the 223 votes cast did not include a choice for mayor choice. Depending how they might have voted had they chose to vote for mayor, those two voters either could have swung the election to Flaherty, created a tie or tripled Bidez1s winning margin.3I had a lot of people today saying Oevery vote sure counts,1 Jay Brunvand, Minturn1s election official, secretary and treasurer, said Wednesday afternoon. 3But I think having a close election is a benefit for the town. Now we won1t be so divided.Brunvand said the 223 votes cast represents about 30 percent of the registered voters in Minturn.After a fourth, state-mandated recount Wednesday night the election results stands.3We got the exact same result again, Brunvand said.And that1s OK with Flaherty.3Oh, I think they counted it enough to get it right, he said, adding that he would not petition for yet another recount as would be his right under state law.When asked what kind of an 3alternative decision process they would have preferred had the recount come up with a tie, the two men talk like men talk in a small town.3I don1t know what that could be, Flaherty said. 3I would have to talk to Hawk, first, said Bidez, adding that he would prefer a game of poker to a coin-toss, just for spectacle purposes.But it didn1t come down to a poker showdown game, just a vote. So for the next two years Bidez will be spending his first and third Wednesday evenings at Town Hall while Flaherty will find something else to do<exactly what he still has to decide after a decade on the council and the past four years in the mayor1s seat.The former mayor did say he is disappointed<even after he faced tough questions regarding his voting record and his style of leadership.3You don1t enter a race to lose, he said, adding that he has no advise for Bidez. 3Earle1s been at it before; he knows what to do.Bidez on the other hand is charged, ready to pick up where Flaherty left off, but not without first giving the former mayor proper small-town recognition.3Hawk called me last night and congratulated me. He was very graceful, Bidez said Wednesday.Winning the slimmest of victories isn1t a problem for Bidez.3It1s majority rule. I1m very comfortable with that as long as the council will cooperate with me, I think things will be alright.After Wednesday night1s council meeting<which will also feature the swearing-in of re-elected candidates Darell Wegert and Bill Burnett as well as the appointment of past council member Fred Haslee and newcomer Jerry Bumgarner<Bidez wants to get things going fast.3I like focused and efficient meetings, he said. 3First we1ll have to have a work session with the new council members and set our goals and prioritize, he said. 3Then I1m going to work on facilitating the discussions and expedite the decisions necessary to achieve those goals.His personal agenda, include cleaning up the town in the short-term and finding additional revenue sources for the cash-starved town in the long-run.3We1ve got work to do, he said. 3I1m looking forward to serving the people of Minturn.Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 602 or at ghaldner@vaildaily.com.


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