Council deadlocks on naming member

After reaching a deadlock between two candidates, Grand Junction City Council members voted unanimously Wednesday to start the search for a District E candidate all over again.

Five people applied for the chance to be appointed by the council’s six members to replace former council member Harry Butler, who passed away June 2. Following a two-hour candidate forum, the council narrowed the field of applicants to two — Duncan McArthur and Les Miller. Councilmen Bennett Boeschenstein, Rick Brainard and Jim Doody voted for Miller, while council members Marty Chazen, Phyllis Norris and Sam Susuras picked McArthur.

With all council members declining to change their votes, councilors asked City Attorney John Shaver when the appointment had to be made. Shaver replied state statute gives councils 60 days to make an appointment. If no one is selected by that deadline, a special election will take place, according to City Clerk Stephanie Tuin.

The council’s 6-0 vote to restart the process means the city will start from scratch. Anyone in District E who wants to apply and meets criteria can apply for the seat and all of the five former candidates have the option to reapply.

McArthur said he plans to reapply but Miller isn’t sure.

“I will have to think long and hard before reapplying to go through this again,” Miller said after Wednesday’s forum.

“I feel I was a very qualified candidate. So did half the council. It’s just unfortunate they couldn’t make a decision today,” he said.

McArthur said he’s not sure what else the council could ask at a second forum.

“We covered a lot of issues,” he said, adding of council members, “I appreciate the ones who supported me.”

Susuras said he supported McArthur because he has knowledge of the city’s planning process “which is needed right now,” while Chazen said McArthur “was a little firmer on the market drivers.” Norris said McArthur has attended numerous city meetings in the last two years and is known to citizens because of his campaign for the District E seat this spring. All three mentioned McArthur gained the second-most votes in the April 2 election behind Butler.

“I believe the citizens support Duncan over all other candidates,” Norris said.

Doody said coming in second wasn’t enough.

“The people didn’t elect Duncan, they elected Harry Butler,” Doody said. “What I want to do is support Les Miller. He’s a business owner and he has served on an authoritative board.”

Boeschenstein said he knows Miller from serving on the Downtown Development Authority Board and likes that he quietly considered issues that board faced and then was strong in his decisions. Brainard said he picked Miller because he’s an entrepreneur and he likes his leadership style.


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