Council elects Emery as new mayor

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/ Jim Noelker

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Less than two years after participating in his first City Council meeting, Larry Emery was elected mayor.

Emery, 44, was born and raised in Colorado. He works as a mortgage broker by trade. The new mayor has championed the building of trails and has fought for adequate roof screening at Glenwood Meadows. He has also been one of the driving forces behind the proposed municipal golf course.

Shortly before the mayoral election ” which is voted upon by City Council members only ” outgoing City Council members Don Gillespie and Rick Davis said the meeting would be “interesting,” but did not elaborate.

Minutes later, Emery was elected mayor.

“I appreciate your support, and I will try to live up to the office,” he said.

Unlike many other cities, City Council members run for office to represent their ward, not as mayor. It was only after the new council members took their oaths that the mayoral election was held.

Each member then wrote their choice for mayor on a piece of paper, passed it to their right to City Clerk Robin Clemons, who read the votes ” and who cast those votes ” aloud.

Emery edged out fellow two-year City Councilman Dave Merritt by a vote of 4-3.

Merritt was then elected as mayor pro-tem.

The mayor position doesn’t give any more power to the council member per se, but rather puts him in the spotlight for ribbon-cuttings and other city events.

Emery’s new responsibilities are to run City Council meetings, sign city checks and graciously represent the city.

Before the new council members were sworn in, the four departing City Council members had some parting comments.

Rick Davis shared his disappointment at losing by three votes to Larry Beckwith.

“Not that long ago I was thinking about tonight. I was hoping I’d win the election, and I was thinking about what it would be like to be mayor,” he said. “But I find myself saying goodbye.”

Davis said he was disappointed about his loss, but he wanted to give the incoming council members some advice.

“Don’t take yourself too seriously ” and have some fun,” he said. “Be patient. Be kind and thoughtful.”

After his comments, Davis ” along with the other three exiting council members ” received a plaque from the city thanking him for his four years of service.

Councilwoman Jean Martensen told her replacement, Chris McGovern, “It can be a boy’s club up here with all the men. Try not to let that happen.”

Martensen also listed some of council’s accomplishments since she joined the board in 1999. The formation of a historic preservation board, the building of the Community Center, Municipal Operations Center and City Hall, as well as the construction of new trails.

“We’ve had some successes,” she said, “but the work, of course, is ongoing.”

Councilman Don Gillespie said he’d been looking for a big set of plastic ears to wear to symbolize that he was, in fact, listening to people in the city.

“We did listen. I never once didn’t listen to things people asked of me,” he said.

He also gave fair warning to the incoming City Council members that he might be stepping down from City Council, but he won’t be far away.

“I used to write some pretty good letters to the editor myself,” he said.

Lastly, Gillespie said that in the days prior to council meetings, he always felt a weight on his shoulders because of the important decisions he would be called upon to make.

“Last night that weight wasn’t there,” he said.

Mayor Don Vanderhoof, who, with eight years experience, served the longest of all of the City Council members, became a bit choked up as he gave his last words as mayor.

“At times it seems like the last eight years have flown by. But at other times, it seems like I’ve served my whole adult life,” he said. “I’m proud of the small part I’ve played in the improvements made to the city.”

Soon after the speeches, newly elected council members Chris McGovern, Bruce Christensen, Larry Beckwith and Joe O’Donnell took their oaths of office and sat down to begin their work.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

Who voted how for mayor?

Member: How they voted:

Dan Richardson: Larry Emery

Dave Merritt: Dave Merritt

Chris McGovern: Larry Emery

Larry Emery: Larry Emery

Bruce Christensen: Larry Emery

Larry Beckwith: Dave Merritt

Joe O’Donnell: Dave Merritt

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