Aspen school board goes with voters’ choice
In the end, the Aspen school board respected voters’ wishes and appointed the woman who received the third-highest number of votes in the November election.
Without fanfare, comment or discussion, the four members of the board unanimously voted Monday to appoint Margeaux Johansson to serve as the fifth member of the board.
“I’m happy to be here,” Johansson said, “and I’m ready to put my head down and get up to speed as soon as possible.”
Johansson’s appointment was the first order of business Monday and took less than 10 minutes to accomplish. She signed a few papers, recited the oath of office and was named the board’s assistant secretary and treasurer.
Sitting next to Johansson, Aspen High School Principal Tharyn Mulberry shook her hand in congratulations.
“Welcome,” board member Susan Marolt said. “I’m Susan Marolt, and I guess I’m the president.”
The board had to appoint a fifth member because of an administrative error prior to the November election that classified all three open seats as four-year terms. The third open seat is actually a two-year term.
All five school board candidates who ran in November said in their petitions they were seeking four-year terms, so the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and the board’s attorneys said voters couldn’t consider them for the two-year term. Voters were directed to choose just two candidates.
Board members Sandra Peirce and Sheila Wills, who were re-elected to the board, said during their campaigns that the most equitable way to fill the fifth seat was to appoint the person who received the third-highest vote total. After the election, fellow board members Bob Glah and Marolt also said they supported that course of action.
However, Peirce and Wills waffled a bit on that plan during the board’s Nov. 30 meeting.
At that time, Peirce bemoaned some of the board candidates’ “public display of negativity towards the district” during the campaign, while Wills criticized Johansson for never attending a full board meeting and not living in the Aspen area for long enough.
“Is there a better candidate out there, maybe someone who is a little more seasoned (and) has a little more time in the valley?” Wills said Nov. 30. “The decision is do you follow the will of the voters or do you think you know better?”
On Monday, Wills made the motion to appoint Johansson to the board.
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