Eagle County commissioners: 1A’s passage is a win for Eagle County
In last week’s coordinated election, we were thrilled to see that Ballot Issue 1A passed with overwhelming support from the county’s voters. About 58% of voters were in favor, and 42% against.
For those not already familiar, 1A allows Eagle County commissioners to seek a third four-year term, allowing them to serve up to 12 years in that office. Prior to 1A’s passage, commissioners were only able to serve a maximum of two four-year terms, or eight years.
We take these results as a clear message from the voters that they are ready for Eagle County to evolve, adding us to the list of dozens of Colorado counties that allow more than two terms for commissioners so that they can better serve their constituents.
In the days after the election, we received feedback that some voters have expressed confusion by the language of the ballot issue as written. While we acknowledge this point of view, we do not believe that this had a significant effect on the election results. There was robust discussion about 1A in public forums such as newspaper articles, letters to the editor, public Board of County Commissioners meetings and work sessions, and community social media pages.
As a board, we unanimously passed a resolution in support of 1A prior to the election listing the reasons we believe it’s the right move for Eagle County. The language, which we used because it was simpler and more concise than the 2010 version, was modeled off of a similar initiative in El Paso County. There was always full transparency surrounding 1A and our stance on it. We do not feel the language in 1A was misleading and believe the majority of voters understood the question they were voting for.
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Being mindful of concerns that an unlimited number of terms could open up the potential for individuals to seek a “career” as a county commissioner, 1A purposefully kept it to 12 years to eliminate that possibility. We wish for commissioners to have a little more time to execute their duties on behalf of the county, and feel that another four years is a fair compromise to accomplish that.
Of course, whenever any such extension for a position occurs, opponents can claim it was done for the immediate benefit of those currently in office. That is not why we proposed 1A. We supported it because it is a long-term investment in restructuring local government that will pay dividends to future generations. Its passage will allow commissioners, now and in the future, to better serve the community.
Voters will have the option to award a third term to commissioners they feel are serving them well. Retaining them in office will allow them to continue to apply the skills, expertise and knowledge they developed in this unique role. It will allow them the extra terms necessary to acquire state and national board appointments. And it will foster continuity of longer-term solutions to the many issues facing the county.
In the more complex and information-saturated environment that is modern governance, 1A allows duly elected commissioners to represent their constituents more competitively and competently.
We thank the voters for passing Ballot Issue 1A. Allowing county commissioners to seek a third term is consistent with achieving more continuity in service while still retaining a term limit of the position to broaden participation in public service. We will continue to serve you, our neighbors, to the best of our abilities. Please feel free to reach out to us any time at email@example.com or join us during our public sessions on Tuesdays at the Eagle County Building.
Matt Scherr, Kathy Chandler-Henry and Jeanne McQueeny serve on the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.