In with the old for Aspen’s new housing board
City and county elected officials agreed Tuesday to appoint three sitting members of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority to serve on a restructured board.
In separate meetings on Tuesday, Pitkin County commissioners and Aspen City Council members honed in on their top four choices out of seven candidates who applied last month.
As part of a consensus effort, the 10 elected officials agreed on APCHA board members Carson Schmitz, John Ward and Rick Head, with newcomer David Laughren as an alternate.
The board is being revamped so it is comprised of five members, two of whom are elected officials and three citizens at-large, plus an alternate.
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As it stands, the APCHA board is comprised of all volunteer citizens who make recommendations to the commissioners and council for approval.
Council and commissioners interviewed applicants for the new board July 9, and elected officials each made their choices.
All seven made it onto someone’s list, County Manager Jon Peacock told the commissioners Tuesday.
The majority of council members agreed with the commissioners’ preference, which was the sitting members and Laughren.
However, not everyone had those individuals as their final choices.
“There is not one person up here who is getting their vision on this,” said Aspen Mayor Torre, who recognized that all of the applicants were “fantastic and highly qualified.”
Originally there were 32 individuals who applied but the pool was culled to a more manageable list.
It was a record turnout. Normally, the average number of people who apply for a citizen board is between three and six, according to county and city officials.
County and city officials voted earlier this spring to change the makeup of the board to expedite decisions on major issues such as how to fund deficits among homeowners associations with aging buildings.
Commissioner George Newman will serve on the new APCHA board with Kelly McNicholas Kury as the alternate.
Councilman Skippy Mesirow will be the city’s representative with Councilwoman Rachel Richards as the alternate.
The first scheduled meeting for the new board is Aug. 7.
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Local law enforcement spoke this week with the organizer of two demonstrations against racism this weekend in Aspen following the death of George Floyd to ensure they will be safe.