Eagle County Dems plan Feb. 5 forum, vote to fill Ryan’s seat
EAGLE — On Monday, Jan. 28, Eagle County Commissioner Jill Ryan will begin work as Gov. Jared Polis' executive director of the Department of Public Health and Environment.
For Eagle County Democrats, an equally important date is Sunday, Jan. 27. That's the effective date of Ryan's resignation, which means the clock starts on a 10-day window on Jan. 28 to name her replacement.
The appointment will come at a special meeting planned Feb. 5.
According to Eagle County Democrats chair Joy Harrison, Colorado Revised Statutes outline the procedures for county commissioner vacancies and the short timeline is just one of the rules. C.R.S. also stipulates that the vacancy is filled by central committee representatives from the political party of the resigning commissioner.
"After confirming members' eligibility to participate on the vacancy committee, our draft procedural rules were prepared and circulated by email to Eagle County Democrats Vacancy Committee members for approval," said Harrison. "Vacancy committee member responsibilities include reviewing all candidate applications and attending the official vacancy committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5. At that meeting, committee members will cast votes for the candidate finalists until a majority vote for a single candidate is completed."
The rules themselves were the first issue up for debate by the Eagle County Democrats. The vacancy committee officially approved the procedures Monday.
According to a state statute, candidates for the vacancy must reside within the boundaries of Eagle County Commissioner District 1. The legal description of the district can be found at http://www.eaglecounty.us.
Additionally, Colorado State Democratic Party regulations state that the candidate must have been a registered Democrat for a period of one year prior the vacancy appointment and shall meet the requirements for running for the office in the next general election. Further details regarding eligibility can be found at http://www.eagledems.org.
"Applicants are requested to submit a letter of interest, a resume outlining qualifications for the position, and written answers to three questions," Harrison said. "The questions will be developed by officers of the Eagle County Dems and posted on the Eagle County Dems website."
Application materials should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information concerning the membership of the vacancy committee will be published on the Eagle County Dems website. Candidates will be provided with committee members' contact information after they submit their application materials.
"Candidates may contact committee members directly, but the committee members will have discretion regarding their individual correspondence/communication with candidates," Harrison said.
The deadline for emailing the application materials is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23.
Before the vacancy committee makes its appointment, two candidate forums have been scheduled. While the public can attend the forums, there will be no public comment at the sessions.
The first forum is planned Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Eagle County offices in El Jebel. The session will begin at 5:30 p.m.
The second forum will precede the Tuesday, Feb. 5, appointment vote. The forum will be held at the Colorado Mountain College Edwards Center and will begin at 5:30 p.m.
"Forum format and questions will be determined by the officers of the Eagle County Dems," Harrison said. "The public is invited to observe, but may not participate."
At the conclusion of the candidate forum, nominations and nomination acceptance speeches will be given, after which the vacancy committee members will vote to appoint the new Eagle County commissioner.
After the nomination process is done, vacancy committee members will vote by paper ballot in an "exhaustive voting process." That means that at the end of each round of voting, if there is no candidate with a simple majority, the candidate with the lowest vote total will be removed from the ballot for the next round. The voting process will continue until there are only two candidates. The winner will be the candidate who collects a simple majority of votes on the final ballot.
The Eagle County Dems have established a list of procedures for the vacancy committee deliberations. The procedures, frequently asked questions and additional information can be viewed at the party's website, http://www.eagledems.org.