Our View: Impressive display of service
December 10, 2008
It’s not always easy to find people willing to choose to step up and serve the public.
Now, imagine making that choice in the next six days, rearranging your responsibilities to fit in with an important, but sometimes thankless, job as a county commissioner.
That was what happened last week, as residents of Moffat County Commission District 2 found possible ways to make it work so that they could apply to fill the vacant seat on the Commission.
The Craig Daily Press Editorial Board applauds each person who applied for putting forth the effort to take a chance on such an immediate opportunity, knowing that they might not be selected.
We also want to further commend the four finalist applicants, who all appeared at the forum Sunday night. They were under no obligation to do so, yet they took part in one of the most public job interviews ever – at least where the winner was not decided by voters.
Instead, the decision was made by the Moffat County Republican Party Vacancy Committee, as required by Colorado statutes. We were hard-pressed to find even one example of a previous a Moffat County political party vacancy committee having had to fulfill this duty.
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The decision, made by three members of the four-member committee, was not an easy task. K.C. Hume, Nikki McLeslie and Stacy Razzano had to choose the new commissioner in four days or less, and only after six days of people applying without any discussion on the committee’s part.
The fourth member, Ron Danner, recused himself due to his wife, Audrey Danner, being an applicant for the seat. Danner did the right thing in stepping down from aiding in this decision.
(The vacancy committee was formed according to local party bylaws and well before the commission seat came open Nov. 29. The makeup of the committee is not mandated by law, but decided on by the party; the law only requires that there be a party vacancy committee.)
We were thrilled that some sort of public input was sought by the committee in making this decision. They did not have to reveal the names of the applicants. They did not have to asked them questions in public. They simply could have appointed someone to the seat.
But they chose to let the public in for part of the process – vetting the applicants.
The forum the vacancy committee held Sunday night may have aided in their decision, or it might have overloaded them with information. But one thing it definitely did was open up part of the process.
By allowing the community members to ask questions of the four finalists – Audrey Danner, Jean Stetson, John Wellman and Byron Willems – the committee was able to gauge what was on the minds of Moffat County residents. And the residents were able to find out more about all four of the would-be commissioners.
We were pleasantly surprised to see as many people turn out for the forum as did, and we thank each one of them for getting involved.
Although there will be much discussion of why the law sets the process to work as it did, we feel that the current statute serves the public interest. It allows the party platform to be the consistent piece of the puzzle, with like-minded people choosing the replacement and saving the time and expense of a separate election. It also expedites the selection of the new commissioner, so that county business doesn’t suffer.
We now know that Audrey Danner was chosen by the committee, and we wish her luck as the new district 2 Moffat County commissioner.