Carbondale trustee vacancy to be filled by election or appointment |

Carbondale trustee vacancy to be filled by election or appointment

Ryan Summerlin

Carbondale trustees are holding out for more community input before they decide how to fill the last vacancy on the board.

Following the departure of former Mayor Stacey Bernot and former Trustee A.J. Hobbs, the board has been working to make its membership whole again.

After deciding to fill Hobbs’ vacancy through appointment, some trustees had earlier said the next vacancy should be filled through an election.

But now the board is weighing whether it’s more important to give Carbondale voters a say or save a few thousand dollars in a tight upcoming year.

Dan Richardson was elected as a trustee last April and was quickly appointed to acting mayor until he was officially voted mayor in this month’s election.

Hobbs’ position on the board was filled in September by the appointment of Heather Henry.

Town staff estimates that an election would cost about $8,400. Town Clerk Cathy Derby also said the election probably couldn’t happen until April, whereas appointment of a trustee could happen as soon as January or February.

“I hate to see us spend $8,400, but I have a problem with a Board of Trustees where a third of the members are appointed,” Trustee Marty Silverstein said during the board’s Tuesday meeting.

However, Silverstein noted that special elections historically have had poor voter turnout.

Appointing Henry had a good rationale, he said, because the board wanted to fill the seat quickly to work on the 2017 budget and because the term was only for one and a half years.

The difference now is that the board is seeking to fill a three-and-a-half-year term, said Richardson.

Trustee Katrina Byars, too, preferred to send the decision to an election.

Trustees Frosty Marriott and Ben Bohmfalk said they would be comfortable going either way — as did Richardson, who added that an election seemed like the safe bet.

In either case, if the board spends the money on an election, or if it opts out of sending the choice to voters, the board is going to hear about it from people who disagree, said Silverstein.

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