The Moffat County Tourism Association board hosted a special meeting Tuesday to address an illegal voting method used during the hiring process of its new director Marilynn Hill.
The MCTA board voted by anonymous paper ballot March 2 — a method Moffat County attorney Kathleen Taylor said was a violation of Colorado’s Sunshine Law.
Board member Frank Moe brought the issue to the board’s attention later that day after reading about a similar issue the Grand Junction City Council faced.
“I don’t think they intentionally did that,” Taylor said.
The Sunshine Law states “no resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance or formal action of a state or local public body shall be valid” unless made at a meeting open to the public.
Taylor said the anonymous vote violated that law.
At Tuesday’s meeting, all members, except Gina Robison who did not attend, announced who they voted for and signed statements of their vote.
The 4-3 vote ultimately went to Hill, 46, formerly of Parker, over board alternate Melody Villard.
Villard received votes from Moe, Cindy Looper and Robison, who later confirmed her vote.
Hill received votes from Elisa Hayes, Annie MacGregor, Renee Campbell and Kandee Dilldine.
MacGregor, MCTA board chairwoman, said she didn’t realize the impact of her actions when she decided to use the anonymous ballots.
“It was a rookie-chair mistake,” she said.
Also, because the board is made up of volunteers, they don’t have as much experience dealing with such laws, MacGregor said.
No official policies or rules were set regarding future ballot issues Tuesday but the board has scheduled the item for its meeting next month.
Moe, co-owner of the Best Western Deer Park Inn and Suites, who announced his candidacy for Moffat County commissioner Monday, said he doesn’t think he will need to resign to run for office. He didn’t think serving on the board would be a conflict of interest.
However, if elected, he said he would step away from the MCTA board to concentrate on the commission full time.
The MCTA board also discussed the recent resignations of Looper and Villard.
MacGregor said MCTA will start to advertise the vacancies shortly. In the last nomination cycle, the board assembled a nomination committee to encourage community members to apply for a board position.
MacGregor is not clear about how the board will approach the current nominations but said she asked board members to encourage residents to apply.
The application process requires interested residents to write a letter to the Moffat County Commission. The commission then reviews the applicants and decides who will sit on the board.
Commissioner Tom Gray said the commission looks at several factors when judging a candidate, but the person’s activity in tourism in Moffat County is largely a deciding factor.
Looper, co-owner of the Elk Run Inn, will leave the board with a specific vacancy to fill.
The MCTA board is required by its bylaws to have two members from the lodging industry.
“I can remember when the association had not enough applicants to fill its board,” Gray said.
In November 2009, 12 people applied for four vacant board seats. The applicants included all four of the incumbent board members whose terms expired.
MacGregor and Dilldine replaced board members Diane Brannan and Patt McCaffrey, and Campbell replaced then president Villard, who was reappointed as an alternate. Moe was reappointed.