After 41 rounds of voting, Aurora lawmakers delay vacancy appointment 2 more weeks

Aurora City Council members discuss a vacancy vote during a virtual meeting July 12, 2021 SCREEN GRAB

AURORA | The Aurora City Council is no closer to filling the Ward II vacancy after Monday’s meeting than it was two weeks ago when the body originally delayed the vote because of a stalemate.

Members decided to layover the vote once again after 41 rounds of voting. The remaining council members and mayor dug their heels into a 5-5 standoff vote between two final candidates for the seat vacated by Nicole Johnston last month. 

Council members Francoise Bergan, Marsha Berzins, Dave Gruber, Curtis Gardner and Mayor Mike Coffman voted for local tavern owner Steve Sundberg, a registered Republican, while council members Alison Coombs, Allison Hiltz, Crystal Murillo, Angela Lawson and Juan Marcano backed college administrator Ryan Ross, a Democrat, who is endorsed by Johnston.

The next vote is scheduled for July 26, just days before the body must make an appointment or face being in violation of the city charter, which states the body “shall” make an appointment within 45 days of the vacancy. The city attorney has held that the word “shall” equates to a mandate in the charter.

Not doing so could open up the city council to both civil and criminal penalties, though the city attorney said Monday night his office would likely dismiss any criminal complaints that came against the city if it were not to make the appointment because of an impasse.

Earlier in the meeting, a proposal attempted to address the penalty set in the charter for not making an appointment. The proposal would have dictated that if a vacancy is not filled within the designated 45 days, a special election should be held, and if the vacancy was not filled within 180 days of a general election, the seat would remain open until then.

Even if the proposal would have passed — it failed to get 6 votes — it still would have meant the city council would be in violation of the charter. 

Marcano said he’s already looking at submitting a ballot question to voters in 2022 that would mimic the proposal and allow for special elections.

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2 months ago

Where this story falls into disagreement and blown into the problematic ongoing drama, history of Johnson needs clarified. The same old worn-out argument Ward two wanted a progressive individual is sloppily used. To anyone that had been around the campaigning when Johnson was on the hot trail to gain votes a real chameleon and charlatan was active. Johnson was a true expert, at covering up who she is. She hit all sites, strong around the VA and military backed activities. The APD, public get togethers, all the Rah-rah-rah middle of the road community bravado. Who was this woman? Well after in office we got to see the truth. How many voters that had nothing in common with what political philosophy would really playout, voted for this. Voters were duped and cheated by her representation. This was not an accurate picture of the WARD TWO decision. In the end, nothing but a true political opportunist, not representative.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago
Reply to  Dean

“. . . nothing but a true political opportunist, not representative” sounds like the entire Council. But you’re OK with making that apply only to those whom you perceive to be too liberal. The last election has no bearing on this issue. No one was duped. You only say that because it did not turn out the way you would have liked, but surely you can see that you are outnumbered in the voting populace. Shame on you for slandering a good person. Your negativity will only serve to turn people against your party.

It is precisely because of people like you that the Council has become dysfunctional, as each side digs in. I think you people actually enjoy it. If not, you would quit wallowing in negativity and move on.

2 months ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

I, for one, was pretty surprised to find out a lot of things about the latest spate of electeds after they were in office.

I was blindsided that Coombs and Marcano are dues-paying members of the largest socialist organization in the U.S.

I was surprised when Johnston, Murillo, and Hiltz took the stage during the riot at the illegal immigrant detention center, where a mob attempted to burn our flag and succeeded in hoisting both an anti-police banner and Mexican flag over the building.

I was not surprised when illegal immigration and criminal-friendly leftist policies resulted in runaway crime here.

I am also not surprised that Ryan Ross was hired to lead the city police accountability task force that included convicted felon Candice Bailey. And that includes recommendations to defund police.

If they let Ross in the tent, even for a short time, Aurora will get what it deserves.

Dennis Duffy
Dennis Duffy
2 months ago

Instead of complaining let’s applaud our citizens for their strength of conviction.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago

Oh, come on people! You cannot possibly be serious! Do you actually think you are representing the will of the people? Get over yourselves. Appoint someone, damn it! It’s only for a few weeks. Even the biggest demagogue couldn’t possibly do much damage to us in that amount of time.

2 months ago

Any Aurora election, including special elections are very expensive. I suppose just a Ward election might be less expensive but certainly at least $50,000.

Just like a spend crazy Socialist, Marcano to suggest to take this to voters for one instance in the history of Aurora or to have this election. Tax and spend is what the Socialists are all about.

Kick this “can down the road”. Let Ward two go without until next year when the regular election can occur. Personally, I would have hoped the Council could have worked this out behind the scenes. This article says that this could happen with minimum problems that the City Attorney could handle.

Brent G Taylor
Brent G Taylor
2 months ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

Absolute best suggestion here — leave the office vacant till this fall’s election. We’re talking 3 1/2 months.

Suggestion #2 — let Johnson vote. It’s not like she has to sit on dais — although for a one-day (evening) session that ought to be possible. Is it pretty evident how that would go? Sure. But in November the ward residents will have their say.

Last, if it sounds like I don’t care how this goes… yeah. I’ve looked at the website (so the candidates are speaking for themselves) for the candidates, two of which will fill at-large seats. One maybe and God help us if any of the others get into office! IE — the city council continues to spiral into the toilet. Wow! What happened since I took that first citizen’s class?

1 month ago

Steve Sundberg all the way!!!!