By Jessica Hanson
Last Thursday’s Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting included a discussion on the process to fill the vacant seat on town council.
Council Member Rory Burnett, who was elected to the town council in April of 2020, resigned recently from a four-year at-large seat.
Burnett cited his resigning was due to unforeseen circumstances that would cause him to miss too many council meetings.
According to the agenda packet provided for the meeting, the process to fill the vacant seat is in the town’s charter, in Article 2: Town Council.
The section in Article 2 states that if more than 120 days remain in the unexpired term, the general public will be solicited for applications to be submitted to fill the vacancy and a person that meets the qualifications will be appointed to fill the remainder of the unexpired term.
The agenda information packet provided at the council meeting enumerates the qualifications in Section 2.7. Some of those qualifications are that the person appointed must be a citizen of the United States of America, a registered elector of the town and a resident of the town for a period of no less than 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the election.
Also included in the qualifications are the person qualified to fill the vacant position must not have been convicted of a felony and must be eligible to be elected or appointed to the office of mayor or council member. One disqualification of any applicants is if they are already an employee of the Town of Pagosa Springs.
In the past few years when there has been a vacancy on the town council, town staff has advertised the vacancy in the newspaper.
An advertisement is currently posted in the paper that lists the at-large vacancy as of Aug. 3.
The ad further states that a public meeting will be held by the town council on Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. at Town Hall, 551 Hot Springs Blvd. The town council will consider the appointment of one new council member at that meeting.
In an email, Town Clerk and Finance Director April Hessman commented, “people interested will need to follow the ad in the paper and complete the application that is online. The timeline is all applications must be submitted by the 27th of September, 2021. Then on October the 5th, 2021, is when anyone who is interested and has submitted the application would come in front of The Town Council for an interview and then appointment on that day.”