OURAY – The Ouray City Council voted 3-1 on Monday, Feb. 3, to appoint Bette Maurer to fill a two-year vacancy created by Michael Underwood’s recent resignation.
“I am very excited and ready to jump in with both feet,” Maurer said after her appointment. “We need to figure out more ways to bring income to Ouray.”
Maurer, a former co-owner of the Best Western Twin Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs who is now retired and works as a bar manager at the Ouray Elks Lodge, was one of four Ouray residents who expressed interest in the position. Other applicants included lodger and caterer Sara Sharpe, local attorney and business owner Paul Sunderland and real estate agent and Ouray native son Carl Cockle.
Each applicant spoke to council for several minutes about their unique qualifications and vision for the City of Ouray. Maurer touted her business background and experience with budgets, marketing, managing and personnel, and stressed the importance of having a voice from Ouray’s retail and lodging sector on council. “I understand budgets and living within your means,” she said. “Sometimes you have to pull back before moving forward.”
Maurer also decried the recent departure of several longtime employees of the City of Ouray. “I am curious how we are allowing knowledge to walk out the door,” she said. “We need to be a fair and competitive employer with an open-door policy. Employees need to be able to voice objections and bring forward ideas. It’s an important job of council to talk to (city) employees.”
Councilor Richard Kersen made the successful motion, seconded by Councilor Glenn Boyd, to appoint Maurer to council. Mayor Pam Larson also voted in favor of Maurer’s appointment. Councilor John Ferguson cast the lone dissenting vote; he had made a previous motion to appoint Sharpe to fill the vacancy, which failed for lack of a second.
Sharpe and Cockle were both among five candidates who ran for two seats on the Ouray City Council in November 2013. Sharpe was the runner-up in the contest.
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