Open commissioner seat down to 4 finalists |

Open commissioner seat down to 4 finalists

Commissioner position needs decision Tuesday

Collin Smith

The Moffat County Republican Party Vacancy Committee has chosen four finalists for the available Moffat County Commission District 2 seat.

The finalists are Craig City Councilor Byron Willems; Audrey Danner, Yampa Valley Partners executive director; and local residents Jean Stetson and John Wellman.

By law, the Vacancy Committee has until Tuesday to appoint someone to fill the seat of Commissioner Saed Tayyara, who died Nov. 29.

If the group cannot reach a decision by then, Gov. Bill Ritter will appoint someone from the same district and party as Tayyara, who was a registered Republican. Committee member K.C. Hume would not comment on how the group chose its finalists or how many applications it received. Each of the finalists has either some government or executive experience.

John Wellman currently sits as County Fair Board president and served on the Moffat County School Board from 1997 to 2005. Before, he spent two years on the County Land Use Board.

Jean Stetson was a member of the Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Working Group from 1996 to 2008. The group put together a management plan intended to keep the bird off the Endangered Species List.

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Danner has been executive director for Yampa Valley Partners since it formed in the 1990s. Her husband, Ron Danner, serves on the Vacancy Committee but recused himself from participating once she demonstrated interest.

Willems currently is serving his first term as city councilor but also has been president of the Colorado State Firefighting Association and served three terms on the Craig Rural Fire Protection District board.

He said getting city and county officials to work together would be high on his agenda if appointed to the Commission.

“Something that (Tayyara) tried to do is get the city and the county working together, which we didn’t really accomplish,” Willems said. “That will be very important for us in the future.”

The Vacancy Committee will hold a community forum at 6 p.m. Sunday in the Moffat County School District Administration Boardroom for the finalists. Each potential appointee will answer questions from the committee and the media, and community submissions through e-mail to or

The forum is open to the public. However, the committee will make the choice for a new commissioner.