Special election called for Jeff council vacancy

At least 65 Jefferson residents disagreed with allowing mayor Craig Berry to appoint someone to fill a vacant council seat until the November general election. A petition calling for a special city election, signed by 65 Jefferson voters, was submitted to the county auditor last week.

The city council on April 23 accepted the recommendation of Berry to appoint high school social studies teacher Darren Jackson to fill the vacancy. Berry had received letters of interest from six persons. When asked by council member Matt Gordon how he made the decision, Berry said he hadn’t talked with any of the six but knew them all. Berry said it was Jackson’s experience as a Grand Junction city council member that set him apart from the other five.

Gordon voted against making the appointment; council members Matt Wetrich, Harry Ahrenholtz and Dave Sloan voted for it.

The council will set a date for the special election at its regular meeting May 14. The election could be as soon as June 25, making Friday, May 31, the final day to file nomination papers. Candidates must obtain signatures from 25 eligible Jefferson voters to be on the ballot.

Jackson would have served only until the regular election in November. The successful candidate in the special election will serve until Dec. 31, 2021, the expiration of former council member Larry Teeples’ term.

The special election will cost about $3,000.

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