Susuras to replace Todd on council

Grand Junction Mayor Bruce Hill talks the six candidates for Linda Romer Todd’s council seat after opening Thursday’s city council meeting at the city hall auditorium.

Sam Susuras

The second time was a charm for the Grand Junction City Council’s newest member.

Sam Susuras, who ran for one of the council’s two at-large seats in April but lost to Bill Pitts, was sworn into the council’s District B seat Thursday night.

The seat became open this month when Councilwoman Linda Romer Todd resigned 14 months before the end of her term.

Susuras beat out five other candidates in a candidate forum-style interview conducted by the six other council members. The other candidates were Lyn Benoit, Karl Castleton, Jan Hammer, Brad Higginbotham and Jack O’Neal.

The council narrowed the field to Susuras and Higginbotham in a vote that was conducted by council members writing their chosen candidates’ names on pieces of paper and handing them to City Clerk Stephanie Tuin. Tuin tabulated the votes, and which person each council member voted for was not revealed.

When asked to choose between Susuras and Higginbotham, the council first voted three for Susuras and three for Higginbotham. To settle the tie, each candidate was given two minutes to explain where they saw the city in one year and where they see it in five years.

Higginbotham said the city needs to flesh out the ideas in the comprehensive plan and help bring them to fruition. Susuras said he would like to see the city, Mesa County and School District 51 partner to get a private firm to open a natural gas fueling site for each of the entities’ fleets, and he would like the county to contribute financially to help the city pay for potentially annexing Clifton.

Mayor Bruce Hill said after the council voted again, Susuras had the majority of the votes, but he did not disclose the tally.

Susuras’ first meeting as a council member will take place Monday, and he’ll help the council make budget-cutting decisions at Wednesday’s council meeting.

“I’m ready” for the quick introduction, he said.

He added at this point he plans to run for re-election in April 2011.


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