Craig council extends deadline to appoint vacated council seat
Craig City Council wants to give residents another chance to throw their hats in the ring for consideration to be appointed to Brian MacKenzie’s vacant council seat.
MacKenzie officially resigned Oct. 17, and was arraigned Oct. 18 on multiple charges incurred on the Front Range.
Council had put a Nov. 26 deadline on letters of interest to fill the seat and interviewed at least six different candidates who sent letters, but during council’s regular meeting Nov. 26, Mayor Jarrod Ogden motioned to table any decision to give council more time to decide.
“I want everyone to know this is not something we’ve taken lightly,” Ogden said. “There’s been a lot of work put into this, both from staff and from ourselves. That being said, I would like to make a motion that we table this until our Dec. 10 meeting, giving us two more weeks to make sure we’ve gone through the process as best we can to make sure we pick the correct person.”
Ogden’s motion was seconded by Councilman Tony Bohrer.
Councilman Chris Nichols questioned Ogden’s motion.
“What are we gonna gain with a two-week increase?” Nichols asked. “Are we going to ask for more applications or what’s going to be the outcome?”
Ogden said he wanted to essentially extend council’s deadline to receive any other interested parties.
“I believe the intent is to just one more time look over all constituents and make sure we’ve got every available interested party that we possibly can,” Ogden replied. “That’s my intent, anyway.”
Councilman Paul James asked City Attorney Sherman Romney whether council had time under the city charter to put off the appointment or face a forced — and more expensive — election.
“I think the charter provision requires you either appoint someone within 60 days, or call for an election within the 60 days. So, that’s the timeframe you’re looking at,” Romney said. “If you feel you don’t have someone that receives enough support on council to be appointed by the end of that 60 days, you should say, ‘We need to have an election.’”
Ogden was sure to point out he doesn’t want to hold an election for the seat.
“I will say, it’s not my intent to have an election,” Ogden said. “That’s costly, and I don’t think we need to do that. I just want to do our diligent best to make sure we have the best possible candidate to represent the city.”
Councilman Steven Mazzuca highlighted the fact council hasn’t had much discussion on the current candidates after spending their last special meeting interviewing them.
“I think the interviews went longer than we expected last special meeting,” Mazzuca said. “There were things on that agenda we didn’t even get to talk about. We really haven’t discussed this as a group. I don’t know if that requires another special meeting.”
Nichols said he was ready to decide on a candidate.
“I was ready to move forward tonight, but it doesn’t sound like council has a consensus,” Nichols said.
Councilman James cautioned the city is approaching its deadline to fill the seat under the charter.
“If we can’t come up with something within the next month, then we’re forced to have an election,” James said. “That’s my thing.”
“Increasing the cost,” Nichols said.
“And further extending the time we have an empty seat,” James replied. “That’s my concern. I suppose I’m OK with us postponing a decision, but I really think we need to make a decision by the Dec. 10 meeting.”
Mayor Ogden concurred.
“I agree totally,” Ogden said. “We just need to sit down and have a work session.”
Councilman Bohrer wondered why council should wait to vote until their next regular meeting.
“We could have a special meeting after that work session and then go right into it,” Bohrer suggested. “I don’t know if we’re gaining anything by waiting until our next meeting.”
Romney said council could vote during a workshop or special meeting.
“You could call a work session and conduct business or you could call it a special meeting and conduct that business, including voting on that issue,” Romney said.
Ogden reminded council his motion to table the MacKenzie seat decision was still on the table and a vote needed to occur on the motion before they could schedule such a meeting.
Ogden’s motion passed with Councilman Nichols voting no.
Council scheduled a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at City Hall.