Steamboat Springs Two former Steamboat Springs City Council members have expressed interest in filling the remaining two years of Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush's District 3 seat.
Mitsch Bush, a Democrat, is the representative-elect for House District 26 serving Routt and Eagle counties. She defeated Steamboat Springs Republican Chuck McConnell in Tuesday’s election.
Former Steamboat city council member Steve Ivancie said Friday he is aware there are other strong candidates for the post, and he said he would be honored to be considered. Former council President Ken Brenner is weighing his interest in the job against his enjoyment of his current role as a trustee for Colorado Mountain College.
However, Ivancie, Brenner and other candidates who might line up to fill the opening will have to wait until Mitsch Bush is able to consult her fellow commissioners on the best timing for her resignation. The selection committee of the Routt County Democratic Party will then put together a process and schedule for filling Mitsch Bush's seat.
County Democratic Party Chairwoman Catherine Carson promised Friday a wide open selection process for all interested people who meet the requirement of being a registered Democrat who has lived within the boundaries of District 3 (comprising most, but not all, of the city of Steamboat Springs) for at least a year.
“There are absolutely zero favorites and zero front-runners,” Carson said. “We’ll have an open and transparent process and we will vote in public.”
Once Mitsch Bush formally resigns, the six-member selection committee will have 10 days in which to choose a successor, Carson confirmed.
Ivancie, who served on the City Council from 2001 to 2009 and ran unsuccessfully for the old House District 57 in 2010, said he’s ready to return to public service.
“Absolutely. I’ve expressed my interest and I’m very, very pleased that Diane is going to represent the new District 26. It’s about time we’ve had a Democrat in that seat,” Ivancie said.
He said he knows there are many capable Democrats who may seek the opening, and he hopes his experiences on City Council and the working relationship he had with county government in that time will stand him in good stead.
Brenner said he is enjoying his work with CMC, but he thinks local government is the best match for his skill sets. He was recently made the treasurer of CMC’s board of trustees and is heavily involved in the strategic planning initiative at the college.
Carson said she did not know how many people had already expressed interest in the opening, but she characterized the interest in the political job as being “strong.”
Mitsch Bush wrote in an email Thursday morning that she was already on her way to Denver to attend the House Democratic caucuses, followed by bipartisan orientation at the Capitol, followed by meetings through the weekend. The next session of the state Legislature begins Jan. 9.
Because of Monday's Veterans Day holiday for Routt County government, Mitsch Bush said she won't be able to discuss the timing of her resignation with fellow commissioners Nancy Stahoviak and Doug Monger until at least Tuesday.
Carson said should the selection committee fail to name someone to fill out the term of Mitsch Bush, the governor would fulfill that responsibility.
“I’m planning on that not happening,” Carson said.
The selection committee includes first vice chairman Jack Dysart of Steamboat Springs, vice chairman Paul Bonnifield of South Routt County, secretary Stuart Beall, and Marlyn Myers and Lynn LaFoe.
A seventh member, Eileen Coffelt of Hayden, died unexpectedly this fall and has not been replaced.
The six-member committee raises the possibility of the need for a tiebreaker process, Carson acknowledged.
The annual salary of county commissioners in Routt County is fixed by the state at $58,500.
“It’s a very difficult job that demands a lot of time,” Carson said.