After deadlock vote, some council hopefuls may sit out next round

After going through the process once, candidates for an empty City Council seat are mixed on whether they will apply again.

Grand Junction city councilors on Wednesday night deadlocked in a tie vote over whether to appoint Les Miller or Duncan McArthur to a seat vacated due to the death of former councilor Harry Butler on June 2.

The five candidates who applied and were interviewed by councilors Wednesday night also included Martha Scott, Kenneth Harris and Teresa Black. After ending in a tie vote, councilors decided to start the process all over again in an effort to fill the seat before a 60-day deadline at the end of July. Applicants can apply until 5 p.m. Monday, July 22.

Miller said he received a number of phone calls from supporters on Thursday urging him to again apply for the position. At this point, Miller said, “I am seriously considering it.”

However, Miller said, he wondered how the outcome could be any different if the candidate pool is unchanged and councilors stick to their choices.

“I was disappointed,” he said. “I made my best case and it wasn’t enough to get the votes. We’re going to go through this exact same process and we’re going to get the exact same results. I think they know Duncan and they know me. I don’t know what could go differently.”

McArthur said on Thursday that he will throw his hat into the ring again.

Councilors Phyllis Norris, Marty Chazen and Sam Susuras voted for McArthur and Councilors Rick Brainard, Jim Doody and Bennett Boeschenstein voted to appoint Miller.

McArthur said he, too, was a bit frustrated by the process.

“Of course, you’d love to have it settled so you can go forward,” he said.

Candidate Martha Scott said she was frustrated by the tie vote, but she hasn’t decided yet whether to reapply. She also complained about councilors’ failure to make a decision.

Kenneth Harris said he will pass on reapplying for the appointment. He thought the questions posed seemed skewed, especially one that asked about his management style.

“I’m trying to be a representative not a manager,” he said by phone Thursday. “I probably won’t try again on it. The council is just divided down there.”

Teresa Black said she would like to reapply for the District E seat, but unfortunately she’ll be out of town serving her yearly two-week stint as a U.S. Air Force reservist during the time councilors will reconsider the applicants. She does plan to run for a council seat in the next citywide election.

“I did kind of get the feeling that each councilor picked the person they had experience with,” she said. “It was an interesting process. It was a little bit frustrating listening to their justifications, particularly toward Duncan McArthur.”

Mayor Susuras and Councilor Norris argued Wednesday night that voters would want McArthur to be appointed because he earned the second-most amount of votes after losing to Butler in the April 2 citywide election.

“We’ll see how this next round goes,” Black said. “I’ll be very interested in how it hashes out.”

Anyone who wants to apply for an appointment to the District E seat must live within its city boundaries, which roughly includes an area south of Orchard Avenue between Seventh Street and 12th Street and also Orchard Mesa. Applicants must have lived in District E for at least a consecutive year and be a registered voter in Grand Junction.

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