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Round Two for empty La Veta Board seat

by Reed White
LA VETA — La Veta has begun the process for a second town board election, this time for the remaining open board seat. Newspaper notification was posted last week.
Candidates may pick up forms for nomination from town hall on June 19. The deadline for return is July 9.
At a special meeting on May 8, the La Veta Town Board voted to approve the second election on August 7, 2012. State law requires that the seat be filled because voting ties are less likely with an odd number of voters.
Trustee Dale Davis was first to voice an opinion, saying, “I think we should have an election.” Trustee Ken Saydak commented, “We [board members] have a good start. All the work for an election would be a distraction.” He further commented that he was sympathetic to the desirability of allowing residents to vote; but that they already had a chance, and the further delay in finding someone to sit on the board could inhibit board business.
According to Town Clerk Erwin, the legal alternatives are either to accept letters of intent from candidates and make a choice, or to hold an election. If the board proves unable to find an acceptable candidate, state law requires an election. If no La Veta resident petitions to be on the ballot, only then can the board legally operate with an empty seat. After August 7, the next available election date would not be until February 2013. The cost of an election is approximately $1500.
All members voted to stage the August 7 election except for Trustee Saydak, who had expressed a preference for the quicker and less expensive alternative. An advantage of the election alternative is that it would eliminate legal pressure from the state in the event that a board member cannot be found.
Prior to the meeting, one long-term La Veta resident who has a history of attending nearly every town board meeting, expressed interest in the seat. At that time, he commented to a trustee that he would be willing to serve the community as a board member, but he added that he “would not pursue the position” via the election process. The board did not mention the names of this resident nor any other residents who might have expressed interest in the vacant seat.