Council appoints two new members

Bruce Cummings removed from council due to unexcused absences

The council chambers at Craig City Hall.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Craig City Council has two new members after Tuesday night’s meeting.

Derek Duran and Tom Kleinschnitz were appointed to the council. Duran, a business owner in town, makes a return after serving on council in a previous term. Kleinschnitz, the director of Visit Moffat County, joins council for the first time.

Following the departure of council member Steven Mazucca, who moved away a few weeks ago, and the decision Tuesday night to remove council member Bruce Cummings due to unexcused absences, the council discussed the previously interviewed candidates and ultimately selected the pair. Several more individuals had applied for the seat, and Duran and Kleinschnitz were among the finalists who interviewed Thursday ahead of the council meeting at a council work session.

The other candidates who interviewed Tuesday were Katie Johnston, the current vice principal at the high school, and Andrea Camp, a real estate agent and former city council member.

Kleinschnitz replaces Mazucca’s position. Duran replaces Cummings. Cummings’ seat was initially awarded after the election last November, and his term began this past winter.

Camp was particularly discussed as a strong candidate as well, but the council members unanimously voted to appoint Duran and Kleinschnitz to council.

“We hope those who are interested will stay interested,” said council member Sean Hovorka. “It’s great to have good options.”

Both men were sworn on to council Tuesday evening and took their seats.

During the interview at the work session Tuesday, the two then-candidates discussed the importance of and their approach toward growth in the city.

Duran, who owns a contracting business in town, mentioned the business component in the coming absence of the coal industry.

“Everyone’s hoping for that big, grand slam business to come to town,” Duran said during his interview. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. We need to celebrate little wins, coffee shops, breweries, wine bars, boutiques, how can we support them? End of the day, they’ll support our community. We have to be aggressive. and that’s the role of some of our staff. sell the city of Craig to the outside world.”

Kleinschnitz, with his tourism background, leaned at times on that knowledge.

“Vernal has leaned into (Dinosaur National Monument) and that’s huge for them,” he said. “What if Craig did that? What if we had 100,000, 300,000 more people coming through here on the way to the monument? What could that do? What could that mean? The paleo developments here are really exciting.”

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