City Council Up for Grabs in November
If city politics has you thinking about throwing your hat into the ring. If last winter’s street conditions are a not-so-distant memory. If cutting through the back streets after the “reconfiguration” of Harrison Avenue has you thinking you could do a better job, then there’s good news.
Every single seat on Leadville City Council – except for one – will be up for grabs on the November 7 ballot. In addition, the position of Leadville City Clerk and Treasurer will also be up for election.
With several controversial decisions coming out of City Hall in the past few months, Leadville Today has been getting inquiries from people who are contemplating a run for city office. So here’s what you need to know about getting your name on the ballot, according to Lake County Clerk and Recorder Patty Berger whose office will be conducting the November 7 election.
Also a note to readers, city positions will not be the only issues on the upcoming ballot, other district elections are listed at the end of the city election report.
Leadville City Council
For those who might be new to the community or unfamiliar with Leadville city representation, this municipality is divided into three Wards. Each Ward is represented by two seats on council. So for those interested in running for local office, the first step is determining which Ward you live in. Since all three sections have seats open, if you live within the city limits and can fulfill the following requirements, then you can continue on your journey of representing the people that live in the highest city in North America.
It’s important to note that city elections are not partisan. In other words, there is no party affiliation, you don’t have to be registered as a Democrat or Republican. But you DO have to be a registered city voter and meet the following requirements:
- Must be 18 years of age and a registered voter.
- To be eligible, a candidate must have resided in their Ward for a period of at least twelve (12) consecutive months.
If you can meet those requirements then it’s time to pick up your petition from the Lake County Clerk and Recorder’s office, located in the courthouse on Harrison Avenue.
- Petitions for city offices can be picked up NO EARLIER than August 8.
- Each representative must get 25 valid signatures from registered voters in the Ward they will be representing.
- Petitions must be turned back into the Clerk’s office no later than August 28.
From there, petitions are verified by the county clerk’s office, a group of helpful individuals committed to assuring an open election process. If you have questions, they are all very welcoming and informed.
Ward One – There will be one seat on the November ballot for Ward One, currently occupied by Jane Gowing. No word yet on whether Gowing will be throwing her hat back into the ring this fall for re-election. Gowing was recently appointed to the seat after it had become vacant following the death Council Member Mike Canty.
Ward Two – Both seats in Ward Two are up for grabs as Council Member Gwen Shepherd is up for re-election. The other seat was recently vacated with the resignation of former Council Member Jake Mohrmann. Since he resigned before his term was complete, City Council will entertain applications immediately to appoint someone to fill that seat – hopefully by next month – until the November Election.
Ward Three – The same situation exists in Ward Three, where Council Member Max Duarte is up for re-election this fall. In addition, the other Ward Three seat was recently vacated with the resignation of Council Member David Chimovitz. Since he also resigned before his term was complete, City Council will entertain applications immediately to appoint someone to fill that seat until the November Election.
Last month’s reconfiguration of historic Harrison Avenue is one of several recent city deicisons that has prompted residents to consider a run for office. Here is the Leadville Today video of the city’s main street with the new traffic flow.
Leadville City Clerk and Treasurer
While once a stream-lined, Constitutional position with clearly outlined duties and responsibilities, both the positions of Leadville City Clerk and Treasurer have become muddied in recent years. Through a series of misguided appointment/hiring decisions and flat out “restructuring” of city government, Leadville recently added a Deputy City Clerk to the payroll, and under the last city administration, a Finance Director. Both of these new positions now report to the Mayor and City Council.
Probably the most glaring concern city residents have regarding this re-model, is that the Finance Director makes upwards of $40,000/annually, while the elected position of Treasurer can anticipate a monthly stipend of $200. The former reports to the Mayor and City Council, the latter to the citizens at the polls, elected or rejected based on performance.
City Treasurer – The following information was provided by the Leadville city administrator for the elected office of City Treasurer: LINK. In addition, this is the information Leadville Today received regarding the position of Finance Director (circa 2013).
City Clerk and Recorder – The following information was provided by the Leadville city administrator for the elected position of City Clerk and Recorder. In addition here is the offical description of the recently added Deputy City Clerk.
There’s no doubt that in light of recent city issues fresh in the minds of voters, as well as the city’s ongoing and growing list of “executive sessions” closed to the public, this fall’s election could prove to set a different tone at City Hall, from a stronger, more representative council to a City Clerk and Treasurer, who can possibly retrieve their elected powers, and ultimately restore these offices to being accountable to the people they represent.
So if you’re ready to do your part for open and transparent democracy and represent the people of Leadville, pick up your petition and rally the troops – Leadville City Election season has begun!
School Board Seats Open
In addition to the city positions, the November 7 ballot will also include two seats on the Lake County School District Board of Education, as Amy Frykholm, who is anticpated to run for re-election and Harmony Jump, who according to school officials will not be seeking another 4-year term, are up for re-election. Deadlines for those petitions, while close to the city deadlines are notably a day off as follows: no EARLIER than August 9 to pick up a petition, to be turned in no later than August 29.
Colorado Mountain College Trustee Board also will see three seats up for re-election as follows. Trustee terms are for four years. Seats for the other four districts (including Lake County) were last up for election in 2015, so they are not up for election this year.
- District 1 (Pitkin County)
- District 7 (Eagle County)
- District 3 (West Garfield County)
Lake County Clerk Berger also reported that, to date, there have been no inquiries about putting an initiative on the ballot (i.e. a sales tax increase question), either by the city or the county, but there’s still time for that, so stay tuned. Since 2017 is considered an “off” election year, there are also no county offices up for re-election, so Lake County voters will get a break on that until 2018.
Berger reported that once the ballot is certified by the September 8 deadline, mail-in ballots will be distributed. Or residents can vote in person and be one of the first to cast their ballot on the new voting equipment that the county will have in place for the November 7 Election.
These are challenging and defining times for democary, from the White House to Leadville’s City Hall. Make sure your voice is heard! Register to vote, throw your hat into the ring, or get behind a candidiate that represents your interests! Then stay tuned for all of the 2017 Election coverage from Leadville Today.