What will happen to Jill Ryan’s seat in Eagle County?
When Jill Ryan officially resigns her Eagle County commissioner seat, a prescribed process will be launched to find her replacement.
While commissioners are elected at large by all Eagle County residents, there are three separate commissioner districts and candidates for Ryan’s seat must reside within the boundaries of District 1.
According to Eagle County Director of Communications Kris Widlak, county staff will not be involved in the vacancy process.
“According to the state constitution, the vacancy is filled by a vacancy committee of the same political party as the commissioner,” Widlak said.
Vacancy Committee In action
Members of the Eagle County Democratic Party Vacancy Committee were appointed in March 2017 during the local Democrats reorganization meeting. The vacancy committee includes more than 50 individuals and includes all Eagle County Democratic elected officials and members of the Eagle County Democratic Central Committee.
According to the state constitution, the appointed commissioner will serve until the next general election — November 2020. The vacancy committee will have 10 days from the time of Ryan’s official resignation to appoint her successor. If the committee cannot make the appointment within that time frame, Gov. Jared Polis will be tasked with appointing the new Eagle County commissioner.
The last time a local vacancy committee convened was in 2013 when Kathy Chandler-Henry was appointed to the District 2 seat vacated when Jon Stavney resigned to become Eagle town manager.
For that process, the committee requested qualified candidates submit application packets for review by a stated deadline. From there the committee selected a group of finalists for interviews and those sessions were open for public observation.
The public was also given the opportunity to submit reference letters for individual candidates to the committee.
Eligible for full term
While the appointed commissioner will have to run for re-election in 2020, the appointment is not considered a term with respect to term limits. The appointed commissioner will be eligible to run for full four-year terms in 2020 and 2024.
As the last vacancy committee appointee in Eagle County, Chandler-Henry has some simple advice to prospective candidates.
“If you have a passion for public service, now is the time to step up,” she said.