Johnson, DeVilbiss have a seat |

Johnson, DeVilbiss have a seat

Janet Urquhart
Mayor Helen Klanderud congratulates Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss as Councilman Jack Johnson looks on. All three elected officials took the oath of office Monday. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

Newly seated City Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss vowed to leave the city in as good a shape when he departs as it was when he took office Monday.Jack Johnson, sporting a suit and tie for his swearing in, said simply, “I’m honored to be here.”Both men took their seats on the council amid a transition marked by standing ovations, handshakes and hugs.”Would you like me to sign it in my own handwriting?” DeVilbiss cracked as he inked the oath of office.

Mayor Helen Klanderud, elected to her third term in May, was presented with a bouquet of flowers from Councilman Torre, one of her opponents in the mayoral race. He said the gesture was meant to show his “respect and admiration” for the mayor.Proclamations to recognize the achievements of outgoing council members Terry Paulson and Tim Semrau were also presented.Semrau was praised for his business acumen, commitment to preparation – as evidenced by his having packets of council paperwork sent to “exotic locations,” and his ability to cut to the chase and distill council debates to the pertinent issues.He chose not to seek re-election after a four-year term, but has hinted he may consider a mayoral bid two years from now. “I believe that staff refers to council people as tourists,” Semrau said. “We come, we stay for awhile and then we leave. I think I was a good tourist.Paulson, who served 12 years, including two terms and the unexpired term of a seat he was appointed to fill at the start of his council tenure, was commended for his unswerving environmental ethic and dedication to retaining Aspen’s special character.

Forced off the council by term limits, Paulson was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat Klanderud in the mayoral race in May.”This is a hard thing to face … I’ve had a love affair with this town for 23 years,” Paulson said.”I was prepared to give a real downer speech tonight,” he confessed.Instead, Paulson commended the council for decisions that keep the door open to a bright future, though he acknowledged he was often at odds with his council colleagues. He also promised to show up in the council’s chambers from time to time, when issues concern him.”I am not prepared to go away and not fight anymore,” Paulson said.

“Terry, I hope you’ll come back and let us know when have done the right thing, too,” Klanderud responded.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is


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