Heather Henry appointed Carbondale trustee
The Carbondale Board of Trustees, down to only five members following A.J. Hobbs’ resignation, appointed Heather Henry to fill his position on the board.
During its regular meeting Tuesday, the board heard the last two interviews out of six applicants for the position. Gwen Garcelon, co-founder and director of the Roaring Fork Food Alliance, and Beth Broome, a Carbondale veterinary technician and ranch hand, were the last two interviewed.
Out of the six applicants for this position, five were women.
Henry, a local landscape architect and business owner, is now the second woman on the board, which has tilted heavily male since former Mayor Stacey Bernot resigned in May and former Trustee Pam Zentmyer was term-limited in April. Trustee Katrina Byars was the only woman on the board prior to Henry’s appointment.
The board highlighted Henry’s experience simultaneously holding positions on the town’s planning commission and parks and recreation commission.
Following the last two interviews, Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Richardson asked for a nomination and said discussion on the applicants could proceed after someone had been nominated.
Trustee Ben Bohmfalk nominated and Trustee Marty Silverstein seconded Henry for the position.
But Byars criticized this process and abstained from voting on the appointment.
That the board’s move straight into a nomination without any prior discussion seemed undemocratic, she said.
Once an applicant had been nominated, any trustee who wanted to advocate for another applicant would have to first argue against the motion to appoint Henry.
After Byars’ objection, the board had no discussion about the possibility of appointing anyone but Henry.
Erica Sparhawk, another applicant for the position, congratulated the board on their selection of Henry before they had actually voted on the appointment.
Richardson, Bohmfalk, Silverstein and Trustee Frosty Merriott voted in favor of appointing Henry.
Former Trustee Ed Cortez, who is also running for mayor, has at past trustee meetings criticized the board’s decision to appoint the newest trustee rather than send the decision to voters.
Bohmfalk reiterated Tuesday that the board was eager to fill the position because of the impending 2017 budget process and the difficulties of a seven-member board operating with only five members.
Even after this appointment, the board is still short one member; Carbondale voters will select their new mayor in the November election.
Byars, Cortez and Richardson, who was elected in April and immediately elevated to acting mayor, are running in a three-way race for the mayor’s position.
Should either Byars or Richardson be elected, the board would then need to fill another regular trustee’s position.
The board did encourage the other applicants for the trustee’s position to remain active, noting the possibility of another position opening soon.
Given the criticism surrounding the board’s decision to appoint the new trustee, some on the board have talked about ensuring the next trustee’s position — if it opens up at all — be filled through an election.
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