Marble election short on candidates |

Marble election short on candidates

John Stroud
Carbondale correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

MARBLE, Colo. ” The town of Marble has canceled its spring municipal election for lack of enough candidates to fill the five open seats on the board of trustees.

Three current board members are stepping down, including Mayor Hal Sidelinger and trustees Richard Wells and Mike Evans.

That leaves trustees Robert Pettijohn and Tony Petrocco as the only candidates seeking re-election to the Town Board in what would have been an April 1 election.

As a result, Petrocco will likely be appointed to the mayor’s seat and Pettijohn will retain his trustee seat, according to Town Clerk Karen Mulhall.

“We have five vacant seats and only two who said they were running,” Mulhall said. “Per the state statutes, if there are not more candidates than there are seats, we are allowed to cancel the election for lack of interest.”

According to Pettijohn, he and Petrocco will be on hand at the next regularly scheduled town board meeting on April 17 to see if anyone is willing to be appointed to the remaining three seats.

Unless at least one interested person steps forward to serve, the town cannot conduct business, as there would be no quorum.

“There’s not a quorum until we get enough people to do it,” Pettijohn said. “We already had a couple who’ve shown some interest. Maybe we can get a couple more to show up at the April 17 meeting, and we can go from there.”

The biggest issue in recent months for the small, remote town in the upper reaches of the Crystal River Valley, south of Carbondale, has been how to deal with the several feet of snow that fell over the winter.

“We’re getting ready to deal with what’s going to happen when all that snow melts,” said Pettijohn, who also works for the Gunnison County Road and Bridge Department. “We’re going to try to keep as much [snowmelt water] as we can in the ditches and off the roads, and just try to keep up as much as we can.”

The town is also expected to hear a state Supreme Court decision soon in its appeal of a ruling that it violated the state’s Sunshine Laws regarding legal noticing of a January 2004 meeting.

The state Appeals Court, in a 2-1 ruling in November 2006, said that a vote by the Marble trustees against a project to commemorate the community’s role in quarrying stone for the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington, D.C., violated the state’s open meetings law, because trustees didn’t adequately publicize the vote in advance.

In January 2004, the Marble trustees voted against a proposal for a visitors center and museum about the nearby Colorado Yule Quarry, which provided the marble for the Tomb of the Unknowns about 75 years ago.

The posted agenda for the meeting said it would include an “update” on the proposal but did not say the trustees would vote.

Some residents protested the vote, saying they wanted to discuss the proposal with the trustees. The trustees refused to rescind the decision, and residents Larry and Dana Darien, Tom Williams and Dan Brumbaugh sued, alleging the trustees violated the Open Meetings Law. The appeals court reversed a lower court ruling, saying the posted agenda had implied the trustees would continue discussing the proposal and vote at the future meeting.

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on Oct. 23, 2007.