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Mancos swears in new town board members

Trustees receive training, appoint committee members
Mayor Queenie Barz, right, swears in Betsy Harrison, one of the new trustees on the town board.

Two re-elected trustees and two newcomers were sworn in at the Mancos town board meeting on Wednesday.

Fred Brooks, Betsy Harrison, Cindy Simpson and Brent McWhirter took their oath of office after bidding farewell to departing trustees Lorraine Becker and Michele Black. Before the meeting, they, along with the rest of the town staff, went through a training session on practical and ethical issues related to town government.

Their first order of business in the regular meeting was to appoint members to the Planning and Zoning Commission and other government advisory boards.

After a training session from the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency, Mayor Queenie Barz gave Becker and Black a plaque and a certificate honoring their service on the board, and gave them a few minutes to shake hands with their fellow trustees and other staff members before they left Town Hall.

Becker was appointed to the board in January of 2016 to fill a seat vacated by the death of trustee Darrel Ellis, and was re-elected to a two-year term later that year. Black served about 16 years on the board, on and off, although she was often absent during her last year as a trustee due to illness.

The board voted unanimously to reappoint Brooks as mayor pro tem, and to keep the current marshal, town administrator, attorney and municipal judge. At Town Administrator Heather Alvarez’s suggestion, the board also voted to increase the salary of town attorney David Liberman to $165 per hour, a 31 percent increase from his previous salary of $126 per hour.

Four people applied for a position on the Planning and Zoning Commission, which was recently reduced to five members, including two alternates. The town board voted unanimously to appoint returning members John Cox and Perry Lewis, and newcomers Peter Brind’Amour and Cathy Seibert.

Simpson asked Brind’Amour and Seibert, who attended the meeting, to assure the board members that they were comfortable saying “no” to people and understood the need to enforce the town’s building codes. Both said they would work to enforce the codes, even if it meant upsetting some people.

“I’m the oldest, and I have five brothers and sisters, so I can say ‘no’ to people,” Seibert said.

The board voted to appoint all four applicants to the commission, with Cox as an alternate. Alvarez said she had received a fifth application after the deadline, but the applicant would be able to reapply later.

The board also appointed Erin Rittenhouse to the Mancos Tree Board, which hasn’t met in several months due to a lack of quorum. Rittenhouse’s appointment will bring the board’s membership up to three, enough for a quorum.

Issues facing the town board over the next few months include the town’s first commissioned public art project, the annual agency contribution requests, weed management on town property and street paving improvements.

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