Councilman protests holiday party inequity |

Councilman protests holiday party inequity

John Colson

One of Aspen’s City Council members has declared he will pay for his own dinner at the city’s employee Christmas party, as a protest over what he thinks is poor treatment of the city’s volunteer advisers.

Council member Jim Markalunas objected to the plans for those who serve on the boards and commissions that advise the City Council. They will be treated to a “cocktail party” from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Wheeler Opera House.

Noting that the city’s employee Christmas party, on Dec. 5 at the Hotel Jerome, is “a sit-down dinner,” he said of the board and commission members, “We ought to serve ’em more’n a handful of peanuts and a glass of cheap wine. We ask a lot of our boards and commission members. They put in a lot of time.”

Although Mayor Rachel Richards replied that the party involves “a lot more than peanuts – it’s pretty good spread,” Markalunas said that in protest over the difference in treatment he would refuse to accept his own free meal at the employees’ party.

“I don’t want to receive something that the boards and commissions can’t have,” he declared.

According to city personnel, the city plans to spend more than $8,200 on the employee Christmas party, at which roughly 230 guests are expected.

The boards and commissions party, according to officials, is expected to cost about $5,000 for some 150-200 guests, and will include gifts of apparel bearing the city’s logo.

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