Steckler named Glenwood mayor |

Steckler named Glenwood mayor

John Stroud
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox/Post IndependentGlenwood Springs City Council member Stephen Bershenyi, left, applauds as Matt Steckler is appointed the new city mayor at Thursday's meeting.ENLARGE

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Matt Steckler was named the new mayor of Glenwood Springs by unanimous acclamation of the City Council Thursday night, after fellow Councilman Dave Sturges withdrew his name from consideration.

Steckler, who joined council as one of two at-large members in 2009, replaces Bruce Christensen, who had served in the appointed mayoral position for the past six years.

Christensen stepped down from the council Thursday night after serving his limit of two four-year terms.

Instead of having a popularly elected mayor, Glenwood Springs City Council appoints its mayor every two years.

“I will try to lead this group to the best of my abilities,” Steckler said.

Also leaving the council were Shelley Kaup, who decided not to run again in this spring’s election, and Russ Arensman, who lost the Ward 1 race in the April 5 election to Ted Edmonds by four votes.

“I would like to thank the outgoing people, Shelley and Russ, and especially Bruce Christensen, who has acted and served as a mentor to me,” Steckler said. “We will work to make decisions here that are in the best interests of the community, and continue to figure out ways to make this community a great place to live.”

Sturges, who was automatically re-elected to his at-large seat this spring after no one challenged him, had planned to seek the mayoral appointment.

However, after receiving the nomination from fellow council member Stephen Bershenyi and a second from Councilman Leo McKinney, Sturges ceded the appointment to Steckler.

“Public service and leading is not about talking, but everything about listening,” Sturges said. “Listening to each other is sometimes challenging, but it is the most important part of our job.

“I don’t have all the answers,” he said. “But I hope we can find civil discussion and debate.”

Meanwhile, Edmonds took his seat alongside two other new council members who were sworn into office Thursday night, Todd Leahy for the Ward 3 seat and Mike Gamba for Ward 4. They, too, were automatically elected as no one else ran for those seats.

The outgoing council members offered a few parting comments.

“It’s not the duty of the city government to try to do it all, but to provide the infrastructure and support for the community to thrive, and to allow citizens and organizations to do things on their own,” Kaup said.

Arensman joined Kaup and Christensen in listing the various accomplishments of city council in recent years, in areas ranging from transportation and trails to support for renewable energy development and preservation of the downtown commercial district.

“If there’s one thing the outgoing council can be proud of, it’s that even if we had differences of opinion we never let it affect our relationship with each other, and we never held a grudge,” Arensman said.

He also acknowledged the non-partisan political process of city government.

“When party politics starts to find its way into local politics, it’s a sign that something is wrong,” Arensman said.

Christensen said it has been a privilege to serve as the city’s mayor.

“The thing about being mayor is that you always hear a lot more about what people are unhappy about than what they are happy about,” he said.

“I feel strongly that the purpose of government is to work for the well-being of the citizens of the community,” Christensen said to a standing ovation.