Seldin back on Basalt council |

Seldin back on Basalt council

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT ” Forty-six days after he resigned from the Basalt Town Council, Chris Seldin was reappointed to the board Tuesday night.

The council voted 5-1 to return Seldin to his prior seat. Mayor Leroy Duroux cast the vote against the appointment. Steve Bossart was the only other applicant for the opening.

“Chris said he doesn’t want the job,” Duroux said when asked why he voted against appointing Seldin.

In an interview with the council earlier in the evening, Seldin said “half in jest” that he didn’t want to return to the council after experiencing life without the obligations of elected office.

Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt made the motion to appoint Seldin and the board voted without comment. Whitsitt previously described him as the “rudder” of the council.

Seldin emerged as a leader of the board after winning election in April 2006. He pushed hard for tight growth controls and more affordable housing before resigning May 9 in a peculiar situation.

Seldin, the assistant Pitkin County attorney, applied for a new judgeship in the 9th Judicial District this spring. Seldin had to establish residency in that judicial district to be eligible for appointment. Seldin’s house is in the Eagle County portion of Basalt, which isn’t in the 9th Judicial District.

He said Tuesday that he moved from Basalt to Aspen in “early April.” Although he was living in Aspen, he continued participating in Basalt town government at council meetings on April 8 and April 22.

There was nothing illegal or improper about his action, Seldin claimed, because he was still a legal resident of Basalt even though his physical address had changed to Aspen. It takes 30 days to establish legal residency after moving, he said.

On May 6, Seldin was named one of three finalists for the judge position by a nominating commission. Colo. Gov. Bill Ritter had 15 days from that date to name a judge.

Seldin established his legal residency in Pitkin County by May 9. On that date, he changed his voter registration from Eagle County to Pitkin County. He also resigned from the Basalt Town Council. His letter of resignation said he would be interested in returning to the council if he wasn’t selected as judge. On May 19. Ritter picked Gail Nichols as judge.

Seldin moved back to his Basalt home, re-established legal residency in the town and applied for the council opening.

Duroux said he couldn’t support appointing Seldin because of “the whole series of events.” He declined further comment.

When discussing those events with a reporter earlier on Tuesday, Seldin said it would have been speculative and irresponsible for him to resign before the nomination committee named him as one of the finalists.

“I thought about it and I was careful,” he said.

Seldin said he had an obligation to serve on the council and he took that commitment seriously. He only resigned when absolute necessary to pursue a career opportunity that rarely is available. In retrospect, he said, he might have explained his actions better to inquiring reporters.

Seldin said he is anxious to go back to work on major issues facing Basalt. The council enacted a moratorium on major new land-use applications during his absence. He said he agrees with that action because it gives the town time to amend its land-use code on growth-related issues. It puts the town in a position to be proactive rather than reactive, he said.

Seldin will be back on the board at its next meeting on July 8.