3 join race for Parker mayor

Rivero, Poage, Toborg launch process of running

Nick Puckett
npuckett@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/23/20

Three sitting Parker Town Council members are vying to be elected mayor come November -- and all three advocate for change at town hall with different ideas on what needs changing. Councilmembers …

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3 join race for Parker mayor

Rivero, Poage, Toborg launch process of running

Posted

Three sitting Parker Town Council members are vying to be elected mayor come November -- and all three advocate for change at town hall with different ideas on what needs changing.

Councilmembers Joshua Rivero, Cheryl Poage and Jeff Toborg have all picked up qualifying petitions to run for mayor of Parker, kicking off a campaign destined to revolve around how the town is run.

Mayor Mike Waid will have served as mayor for eight years when his current term is over. Waid does not intend to seek a third term.

Parker operates under a “council-administrator” government, meaning the town administrator, currently Michelle Kivela, runs Parker's day-to-day operations and the town council votes to approve policy. Matters are voted on by the six council members and the mayor only votes in a tie-breaker scenario.

In Parker, the primary role of the mayor is to facilitate discussions between council, staff and the public on specific matters.

Rivero was elected to council in 2012 and will have served eight years on council. Poage and Toborg were both elected in 2018 on similar platforms. Both have advocated for change in the power structure under which the town operates and argue the town's elected officials ought to have more control over policy decisions.

Rivero believes the mayor should act as a “bridge” to bring people together on divisive issues. Rivero said he wants to restore the public's trust in the town council through open communication.

“The biggest thing, more often than not, when there's a disagreement with the town there's a lack of information,” Rivero said.

Rivero wants to bring back “Coffee with the Mayor” events and introduce regular town hall-style meetings to openly talk about local issues.

“I will sit down with anybody at any time,” Rivero said. “We're losing the ability to talk to our elected officials. I want to make sure every single one of the 57,000 people in this town feels comfortable talking to me face-to-face.”

Poage and Toborg often stick together during public deliberations on council. They are usually the only two “no” votes seen on a given agenda item and they ran on similar promises to their constituencies to bring about change at Parker Town Hall.

When asked why they decided to run, Poage and Toborg both referred to how they saw the town operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toborg and Poage believe they could have gotten Parker businesses to return sooner from the state's shutdown order, either through more prodding of the county and health department leadership or drafting Parker-specific variance requests.

Toborg believes the Tri-County Health Department inhibited Parker's ability to reopen sooner. Toborg said the health department had an “overabundant opinion” in matters pertaining to Parker's ability to reopen.

“I think during that situation, the logic to me is that you pull the elected leadership in closer … as opposed to pushing them away,” Toborg said.

Toborg worried the way the state swiftly wielded sweeping public orders could be a slippery slope.

Toborg said he wants to reunify council. Prior to Toborg and Poage's election, nearly all agenda matters would pass unanimously. Though council was unified, Toborg noted Parker voters wanted change to that consistency.

“The people of Parker asked for change, and if you've got three sitting members on council running for mayor, that clamoring for change hasn't stopped,” Toborg said.

Poage believes the town administrator and town attorney have too much influence at Town Hall.

“The only two positions the town has under their employ is the town administrator and town attorney,” Poage said. “As we look at where the impact (on the town) is, it's moving away from town council and town mayor to a paid position, and I don't think that's the right way to go.”

Poage and Toborg are both certain on running for mayor. Though they often side together on town issues, they will be forced to run against each other in an at-large race.

“Cheryl and I have had a closer ideology in what the citizens are telling us, but there are things we agree on and disagree on,” Toborg said, “We're not the same candidate.”

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