Two council seats on April 20 ballot

Special election will decide replacements for Williams, Toborg

Nick Puckett
npuckett@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/7/21

The Parker Town Council on Jan. 4 chose not to appoint a replacement to fill the seat left vacant by now-Mayor Jeff Toborg, leaving the choice, again, up to Parker voters this spring. The four-member …

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Two council seats on April 20 ballot

Special election will decide replacements for Williams, Toborg

Posted

The Parker Town Council on Jan. 4 chose not to appoint a replacement to fill the seat left vacant by now-Mayor Jeff Toborg, leaving the choice, again, up to Parker voters this spring.

The four-member council voted unanimously to include both of its vacant council seats on the April 20 special election ballot. Meanwhile, the council will operate through the spring with just enough sitting members to meet quorum.

“It's not the best-case scenario,” Toborg said Jan. 5. “But I have the commitment from the four sitting members that they'll be there.”

Toborg resigned his post as councilmember to be sworn in as mayor Dec. 14, creating a second vacancy at the dais and starting the 30-day clock that council had to discuss candidates. Appointing a new member would have required unanimous approval, and the remaining four councilmembers — John Diak, Cheryl Poage, Laura Hefta and Todd Hendreks — could not agree on a candidate to serve the remaining two years on Toborg's term.

Two different makeups of the Parker Town Council had the opportunity to appoint a replacement to fill a vacancy at the dais in the past four months, and each one passed.

On Oct. 21, the then-five-member council — Diak, Poage, Toborg, Debbie Lewis and Joshua Rivero — did not appoint a replacement to fill the seat of former Councilmember Renee Williams, who resigned Sept. 21. The council's no-decision meant a special election needed to be called, which would cost about $50,000, according to town staff.

Town council had 90 days after that to decide on a date for the special election. Knowing a second vacancy could appear if Toborg was elected mayor, the town council delayed its determination of a special election date until after the election. Town staff and council scheduled the special election for spring in the event council failed to appoint a nominee to replace Toborg and needed to include both vacancies on the ballot, rather than run a separate special election.

That means, however, that the Parker Town Council will be forced to operate with the minimum number of sitting members needed to pass ordinances and major legislation. In other words, every ordinance presented before council through April will need to be passed unanimously.

Parker's Municipal Code requires the town council to be made up of six at-large councilmembers serving staggered, four-year terms. Quorum required to vote on town ordinances is four. For the council to conduct official business, every councilmember will need to be present between now and May, when the two interim councilmembers will be sworn in.

What's next

The councilmembers elected April 20 will serve the remainder of Williams' and Toborg's terms, both of which end Nov. 8, 2022.

The 22 months in which the newly elected candidates will serve will not count as a full term of service, according to the municipal code, which states any amount of time served equal to or greater than one-half of one full term (two years) constitutes a full term of service.

The Town of Parker will hold a pre-candidate meeting at Parker Town Hall, 20120 Mainstreet, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m., according to a Jan. 5 Town of Parker news release. The meeting will discuss the process to become a candidate, review how to obtain information related to council agendas, reports and calendars and address questions related to the positions of councilmember.

The meeting is being held to prepare candidates for the first day nomination petitions can be circulated for the elected positions, the release states. To be placed on the April 20 ballot, a candidate needs 25 signatures from registered Parker voters as verified by the town clerk. Candidates can begin collecting signatures Jan. 19. Verified petitions are due to the town clerk by Feb. 8.

The town will hold a candidate orientation meeting at Parker Town Hall Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. to determine the order in which the candidate's names will be placed on the ballot and to provide information related to campaign contributions, the Fair Campaign Practices Act, campaign code of ethics, disclosure statements and election signs, the release states.

For more information, contact Town Clerk Carol Baumgartner at cbaumgartner@parkeronline.org or 303-805-3112.

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