EAGLE — Eagle Town Council members spent Tuesday evening interviewing applicants to fill two vacant seats following the deaths of Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer in an avalanche near Silverton in early February.
The eight applicants — Jaimie Mackey, Erinn Hoban, Sarah Parrish, Brian Bloess, Geoff Grimmer, Josh Stowell, Janet Bartnik and Kevin Brubeck — brought a variety of backgrounds and ideas to the table.
Over a span of about four hours, each applicant took a turn at the podium to briefly respond to a series of identical questions from Eagle Town Council members. Questions focused on whether the applicants support the town’s strategic plan, what if anything they would change about the plan, and if they would intend to run for election after the appointments end in November.
The Town Council saw 19 people apply to fill the two vacant seats, and then narrowed the pool down to eight candidates for interviews late last week. Members of the Town Council plan to finalize two appointments at a meeting next Tuesday.
The applicants, in turn, each touched on a variety of issues in the small but growing town. Those issues included supporting small businesses and recruiting new businesses to strengthen and diversify the bedroom community’s economy, improving internet services, attracting younger people and families to town, helping older residents age in place in the town, providing more affordable housing, protecting the environment, and enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities and quality of life.
The full interviews from Tuesday’s Town Council work session are available to watch online at townofeagle.org/773/Agendas-Minutes-and-Packets.
Mackey, co-owner of The Assembly restaurant, which opened last August in Eagle Ranch, said she moved to Eagle with her husband about three years ago. Mackey said Eagle is in “a really cool position with amazing new opportunities,” and that she hopes to bring her small business background to help guide the town forward while protecting what makes it special.
Hoban said she has lived in Eagle for seven years. She helped launch the former Vail Mountaineer newspaper and now works as a business consultant for the Northwest Colorado Small Business Development Center.
Parrish, originally from Edwards, works as a real estate agent for Slifer Smith & Frampton and has lived in Eagle for seven years.
Brian Bloess, who has lived in Eagle for nearly 11 years, worked for more than a decade at American Gypsum as its human resources and safety director, and has since started a home remodeling business. Bloess said he’s excited by the direction the town is taking, and that recent events have put things in perspective and convinced him it’s “time to step forward and serve the greater need and the people of Eagle.”
Grimmer, a founder and former headmaster of Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy who co-founded the Zealous School, a micro-school in Eagle Ranch, previously served on the Town Council after he was appointed to fill a vacancy in September 2015.
Stowell, digital media manager for Eagle County and an Eagle resident for 16 years, was on the backcountry ski trip when Jessen, Palmer and Seth Bossung were killed in the avalanche. “I had a lot of trepidation about doing this, putting my name in … At the same time, I felt it was the best way to honor their memory,” Stowell told the Town Council.
Bartnik, who works as executive director of Mountain Recreation, said she has lived in Eagle for about three years. With the deaths of Jessen, Palmer and Bossung, it’s time for community-minded folks to step up, Bartnik said, adding, “I understand the commitment, the time, and I’m willing to do it because I love this community. It has embraced me.“
Brubeck, a financial adviser for Edward Jones who previously served on the Town Council and the town’s planning and zoning commission, said he has lived in Eagle since 1974, been married for 42 years and “served on just about as many committees and boards in this community.”
“I would like to offer you continuity of someone who has done (the job) before, the consistency, the institutional knowledge, to get us from here to the end of the year at least … I don’t have an ax to grind, I don’t have an agenda. I love this community and I can do this job,” Brubeck told the Town Council.
Town Council members have said they are overwhelmed to see such a strong showing of support from people stepping forward and offering to help fill the two vacant seats.
“I think we’re very fortunate to have so many people step up,” Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed said after Tuesday’s work session. “The diversity of people is very cool. It was great. I think we’re going to be able to have two very qualified people.”
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at [email protected]