Commissioner Albritton Resigns Effective August 14
by Peter Shelton
Aug 01, 2012 | 2290 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

OURAY COUNTY – Term-limited Ouray County Commissioner Heidi Albritton announced Tuesday that she will resign her District 3 seat effective August 14, four-and-a-half months short of her full term.

In a political twist, Albritton revealed that she changed party affiliation shortly after the July Fourth holiday, “my Independence Day gift to myself,” she said. Elected twice as a Republican, Albritton re-registered as Unaffiliated, thus depriving the Ouray County Republican central committee of the ability to name her replacement. That job now falls to the governor’s office. The new appointee, who will serve only until the end of the year, must now be an unaffiliated voter from District 3.

Albritton wrote in her resignation letter that she had “become increasingly frustrated with the party’s hostile rhetoric and inflammatory partisanship. I do not identify with it, and it does not represent the type of public servant I have sought to be.”

Albritton said the timing of her resignation was nevertheless not political but rather personal. Knowing her time in office was coming to a close, the Ouray native and graduate of Ouray High School sought “to start over” with a new career in Seattle, where her husband, Steve, has been working. Soon-to-be-ex Commissioner Albritton landed a position as legislative liaison with the City of Seattle, a job that she starts at the end of this month.

Governor Hickenlooper’s office sent out a press release Tuesday calling for applicants to fill Albritton’s seat. Interested applicants must be registered Unaffiliated voters, and reside in Commissioner District 3, which included the west side of the City of Ouray and part of Ridgway. Ouray County redrew its commissioner districts last year. To see if an applicant lives within the correct (new) district, contact Michele Nauer, County Clerk and Recorder at 325-4961.

Applicants must submit a written application plus a resume and a letter stating interest in the position to the governor’s office, at, or email:

By law the governor has 10 days from the effective date of the resignation to name a successor, so the new commissioner will be named by August 24.

One possible candidate to fill the vacancy, already running as an independent to fill Albritton’s term-limited seat, is former Ridgway mayor Pat Willits, who is campaigning against Don Batchelder. As a Republican, Batchelder would not be eligible to apply for the appointment, but Willits would.

Contacted on Tuesday, Willits said he has “mulled it over, and my inclination is to put my name in the hat.” If Willits is appointed, the November election will still take place, and the newly elected commissioner will take office in January.

Told about Albritton’s announcement, Ouray County Republican Party Chairman Jim Buske had “no comment at this time.”

Albritton said in her letter that the decision to change parties was “the only real option for me on a very personal level,” voicing “confidence that Governor Hickenlooper will appoint an excellent candidate to serve the remaining months of my term.”

She acknowledged there were a number of important issues before the BOCC, and that she regrets not being able to see some of them through.

“I am excited” about the future, she said. 

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