Grand Junction council picks Norris for mayor

Phillis Norris.

At this time last year, the Grand Junction City Council was in turmoil.

Elected councilor Harry Butler had died, Rick Brainard resigned after weeks of protests from community members over a domestic violence charge, and the rest of the newly elected board was accused of being in cahoots with the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce. A partially filled board was charged with appointing new members.

A few quick votes Wednesday night to determine this year’s mayor and mayor pro-tem paled in comparison to the rancor that dictated last year’s annual council reorganization. Councilor Phyllis Norris unanimously was voted in as mayor and councilors voted 4-3 to reinstate Marty Chazen as mayor pro-tem. Sam Susuras, Bennett Boeschenstein and Jim Doody were outnumbered in their attempt to appoint Boeschenstein mayor pro-tem.

Norris cited outgoing mayor Sam Susuras with helping the council move forward after last year’s rocky start.

“I’m excited about it,” Norris said about the mayor position. “I’m learning as I go.”

In Grand Junction’s city government, the mayor’s role has no more authority than other members of council. However, mayors are more often tapped to appear at official functions. The mayor pro-tem conducts meetings in the mayor’s absence and works with city staff to set council agendas.


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I’m glad to know that the City Council is working together, doing the people’s work. Having said that, I was expecting a story about the new strategic plan for the city. Did it get tabled at last night’s meeting? Was there any discussion about the plan? Maybe it’s just me, but I think 3 to 5 year strategic plans are pretty important. A strategic plan is usually a road map for the entity issuing it, so it would be pretty important to the future of the city.

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