Emery decides to pass the gavel | PostIndependent.com

Emery decides to pass the gavel

Glenwood Springs Mayor Larry Emery will end a three-way juggling act between politics, work and family by passing the gavel.

Emery said he had been leaning toward running for City Council again but decided not to for family reasons.

He said his work schedule is more hectic than when he first became a council member nearly four years ago. He also has a daughter who is less than 5 years old, and he’s spent a lot of her formative years dealing with city business rather than being at home. He can’t imagine that going on for another council term.

“I don’t think I can spend eight of her first nine years in meetings at night,” Emery said.

Council elects a mayor from its membership following council elections every two years. Emery became mayor after the November 2003 election.

Emery said he would have liked to have continued being involved in perhaps a half a dozen projects on which council has been working. Among these are dealing with several traffic issues, and moving forward with Downtown Development Authority funding that the city so far has successfully defended from legal challenges by Garfield County and Colorado Mountain College.

But council will continue to do fine without him, he said.

“There’s a lot of good people in Glenwood Springs, and the work will go on and things will get done,” he said.

As of now, no one has announced plans to run for Emery’s Ward 2 seat. The ward is in west Glenwood.

Elections also are being held for Ward 5, in south Glenwood, and for an at-large seat. Ward 5 incumbent Dave Merritt said last week he plans to seek re-election. Dan Richardson, who holds the at-large seat, has previously announced he won’t run again. City Planning and Zoning member Dave Johnson previously has said he intends to run to replace Richardson.

Petitions to run for council became available Tuesday and must be returned by Aug. 22. As of late Tuesday morning, no one had taken out petitions, city clerk Robin Unsworth said.

Merritt said he’ll wait to find out who’s on council before deciding whether to seek to become Glenwood’s next mayor. He said Emery has done well in the job.

“He’s tried to keep a steady keel there,” Merritt said.

Glenwood has a city manager who handles day-to-day affairs. Its mayor runs council meetings and represents the city in more ceremonial capacities.

Merritt worries that the same reasons Emery isn’t running again also keep others from serving on council and city commissions and boards.

“It’s tough if you’ve got kids at home. It make a big difference, those evenings (spent in meetings),” said Merritt, whose children are grown.

If you’re given the choice as a parent of sitting on the Parks and Recreation Commission to talk about building ballfields, or taking a child to play ball, “what are you going to do?” Merritt said.

As Emery looks ahead to more time with his daughter, he also looks back with satisfaction at several accomplishments by council during his tenure. Among them are hiring a new city manager and city attorney; opening the Community Center, pool and tennis courts; focusing on various programs to revitalize the downtown business core, and working to shore up the city’s finances following the post-9/11 economic downturn.

“There have been some challenging times but I think the city is in pretty good shape,” Emery said.

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