If you go
What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.
Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information
■ A public reception for incoming and outgoing council members is from about 5:30 to 6 p.m. in Centennial Hall. Light refreshments will be served.
■ At 7 p.m. at the Steamboat Smokehouse restaurant, Joe Pete Larusso hosts a public appreciation party for outgoing City Council President Loui Antonucci. All are welcome. There will be a cash bar.
A new Steamboat Springs City Council will be sworn in tonight at Centennial Hall during a short meeting that will include the selection of a new president and president pro-tem.
Current City Council President Pro-tem Cari Hermacinski appears to have the inside track for the president’s chair, with City Councilman Jon Quinn a strong possibility for the pro-tem position. Hermacinski won re-election Nov. 3 against former City Council President Kevin Bennett and has expressed her desire to lead the next council.
Quinn said Monday he plans to nominate Hermacinski for the position.
“I do, I think she’s best suited for the job,” he said, citing her legal background and service as pro-tem. “I think it’s a challenge that she’s up for. So yeah, I probably will make that motion.”
Newly elected councilman Kenny Reisman, to be sworn in tonight representing District 2, and Councilman Scott Myller removed themselves from consideration for the council presidency last week.
Other council members declined to comment on whom they would support.
Jim Engelken also will be sworn in tonight, marking his return to council service. Engelken previously served on City Council from 1995 to 2001. He defeated Kyle Pietras for the two-year, at-large seat.
Engelken said he hasn’t thought about, or been asked to take, a leadership position on the new council.
“Usually there’s quite a bit of discussion among council members about what’s going to happen with that,” Engelken said, noting that hasn’t been the case this time around.
“The person you put as president is not the person you agree with, it’s not the person you like, it’s the person that will do the best job,” he said Monday. “It’s someone who allows everyone to be heard but tries to be as efficient as possible. … I don’t know these guys, so I don’t know who the best choice is.”
Outgoing City Council President Loui Antonucci and Councilman Steve Ivancie will step down tonight. Both have served since 2001. Antonucci also served on the council from 1989 to 1993.
Hermacinski, as the current pro-tem, will preside over the meeting after new members are sworn in and until the new president and pro-tem are selected. Because of that role, she said, she initially will seek nominations for the pro-tem spot rather than making a nomination herself. But if none arise, she said, she likely would nominate Quinn.
“If nobody else threw his name in the ring, I probably would,” Hermacinski said.
Quinn said he would accept the position if offered.
“I told (Hermacinski) I was willing to do it,” Quinn said. “Clearly, there’s a very huge time commitment above and beyond what the other council members give … but being a student of politics and philosophy, I really enjoy it. I enjoy the process.”
Also tonight, City Clerk Julie Franklin will introduce discussions of council member assignments to nearly 40 committees or boards, including Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, Colorado Association of Ski Towns and many more.
No eyes on U.S. House seat
Hermacinski and Antonucci refuted rumors Monday about a possible run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, currently held by San Luis Valley Democrat John Salazar and up for election in 2010.
“I was approached quite a while ago, probably seven, eight months ago at least — and I just would never do it,” Hermacinski said. “The 3rd Congressional District is geographically huge, and I know that the people who do that type of service sacrifice a lot in terms of their families. … This (City Council service) is the extent of my political climb.”
Hermacinski declined to specify who approached her about a Congressional run. She cited her two daughters — 4-year-old Josie and 6-year-old Eva — as her reasons for staying local — at least until they are in college.
“For the next 14 years, serving Steamboat is great for me,” she said.
Hermacinski added that her political views don’t follow traditional Republican lines.
“I don’t think these Republicans have any clear understanding of where I am politically, because I am socially liberal — I believe abortion should be legal, I support gay marriage,” she said, adding that she is a fiscal conservative and generally doesn’t support government intervention in people’s lives, economically or socially.
“I don’t think either party would pick me as a candidate, because I am so mixed in my views,” she said.
Antonucci said he has discussed a Congressional campaign only idly, and he has not been approached by the state Republican Party or anyone else.
“The truth is, I wouldn’t even know where to begin on that level,” he said. “Right now, all it is, is a vicious rumor.”
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org