Art Riddile appointed New Castle mayor
NEW CASTLE — The Town Council on Tuesday tapped Councilor Art Riddile to serve as mayor, while also opening up the process for filling the vacancy left by Riddile’s appointment.
Riddile replaces Bob Gordon, who resigned from the mayor’s position on April 19 because he is moving to Battlement Mesa. The mayor and members of council must live in New Castle, per the town’s charter.
An experienced member of council, having served since 2006 and lived in New Castle since 1993, Riddile expressed gratitude for the vote of confidence from his colleagues at several moments during the meeting.
“I love this area, like many people do,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “We’re passionate about this area and we want to see it grow at a smart pace.”
Coming into Tuesday night, Councilor Frank Breslin, who served three different previous stints as mayor in New Castle, was the only member of council to formally submit a letter of interest in the mayoral position. Mayor Pro-Tem Bruce Leland was appointed interim mayor following Gordon’s resignation.
The general consensus among councilors was to select a current member to fill the role of mayor, rather than open the process up to residents and select from a pool of interested candidates. While some municipalities choose the mayor from members of the governing body, in New Castle, the mayor is elected by voters separate of the other six council members, according to the town charter.
In asking if any other members of council were interested, Councilor Mary Metzger nominated Riddile, who accepted.
Both he and Breslin recused themselves from the vote, at the advice of legal counsel, leaving Metzger, Leland, and recently elected councilors Grady Hazelton and Graham Riddile to vote on the matter.
Prior to the vote, Leland clarified that David McConaughy, town attorney, confirmed there was no conflict of interests in allowing Graham Riddile, whose father is Art Riddile, to vote on the matter, since he is not financially dependent on his father.
“David said you not only may vote but you’re obliged to vote,” Leland said to the younger Riddile.
The vote was conducted via paper ballots, and all four voted for Art Riddile. As a sign of no ill will, Breslin joined several fellow councilors in congratulating Riddile, whose appointment was effective immediately.
Council then turned its direction to the future.
According to the scenarios laid out in an April memo from McConaughy to council, the mayor’s position will be up for election this coming November.
The elder Riddile said chances are he will probably run to continue serving as mayor at that time, but would not make any promises Tuesday night.
Council also addressed what to do regarding the vacant seat on council.
The town will accept applications until June 1 from interested residents. Residents must meet the one-year residency requirement that applies to those running for office.
Council will then conduct interviews at its June 7 meeting. Applicants are instructed to attend the June meeting.
Leland noted that preliminary interest has been strong, and it’s possible the six members of council vote on five potential candidates.
The eventual appointee will serve the remaining 22 months of Riddile’s previous council term.
The new developments add to the recent changes in the makeup of the board. Along with Metzger, an incumbent, voters elected the younger Riddile and Hazelton to council in early April. Councilors Merle Means and Patrick Stuckey fell short in their re-election bids.
In echoing comments Gordon made after his resignation, the senior Riddile said he had confidence in the newly configured council.
“I’ve known everybody here for quite a long time and I think we have some great, new younger blood … “ he said. “I like to see fresh ideas and I would like to encourage continuation in that direction.”
Each year, the Lions Club uses race proceeds from the FireKracker 4K race to provide eye examinations and eye glasses for those in the Roaring Fork Valley who are in need.
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