UPDATED: Special election set for Feb. 14 to fill open Grand Junction council seat
By Brandon Hurley
** Editor’s Note: The Jefferson Herald has made a correction to a few inconsistencies in the Jan. 27 story detailing the upcoming Grand Junction special election. Neither current council members Paula Hoskinson nor Lora Lyons organized a petition for a special election to fill an open city council seat.
Former council member Mark Renslow was not involved either. The original article was unclear as to who specifically organized the petition.
Spencer Kirk coordinated and distributed the petition around town, needing 32 signatures to enact the Feb. 14 vote. He gathered 60 signatures from Grand Junction residents.
No person on the current council helped orchestrate the push for a special election. As a collective, they were opposed to an election, appointing Dennis Jacobs to the vacant seat.
“We, as a council, did not want a special election,” Hoskinson said in a statement to the Jefferson Herald. “We are obligated, by law, to conduct a special election when a petition is filed.”
Hoskinson said in a previous city council meeting that a special election will cost the city roughly $5,000 to $7,000.
The Grand Junction council appointed Jacobs to the empty seat vacated by Renslow during a Dec. 20 special election. Jacobs will remain as an active member of the council until after the election. If another resident is elected, Jacobs will be relieved of his appointed duties.
Kirk was one of three Grand Junction residents to file for the open city council seat. He also ran for the Grand Junction city council in 2021, garnering 11.6 percent of the vote. There was a definite purpose behind his signature drive.
“I filed the petition for special election because in my eyes and many other community members eyes, our current council is running a dictatorship. It’s their way or the highway,” Kirk said.
He said it only took four days to gather the signatures, and feels as if he could’ve generated even more.
“As I was collecting signatures, I had many who wouldn’t sign it in fear of retaliation from the council,” Kirk said.
The filing date to run for the open seat was Friday, Jan. 20, with Kirk, Jacobs and Terry Hoefle all filing to run.
The special election will take place on Feb. 14. Absentee ballots are now available, and must be turned in to the auditor’s office by Feb. 13. The deadline to request a ballot is Tuesday, Jan. 31. The polls on Feb. 14 will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the St. Brigid Parish Center on Hager Street in Grand Junction.
• UPDATED ORIGINAL STORY •
Turnover at the government level in Grand Junction has trickled into the new year.
A special election to fill a vacant city council seat is set for Feb. 14 after a petition with 60 signatures was turned into the Greene County auditor’s office.
Mark Renslow officially resigned Dec. 8, midway through his first term on the Grand Junction council, citing serious concerns about the city’s dedication to the local, volunteer fire department.
The remaining council initially appointed Dennis (Jake) Jacobs to fill the vacant seat during a Dec. 20 special meeting. Hillman voted for Terry Hoefle while Kenny Madesen, Lyons and Hoskinson voted for Dennis Jacobs. Grand Junction resident and Greene County High School graduate Spencer Kirk also entered his name to be appointed to the open seats, but wasn’t selected. Jacobs served as a city council member at Grand Junction’s January meeting on Jan. 9.
Kirk, who ran for Grand Junction city council in 2021 and garnered 11.6 percent, organized the petition to file for a special election.
Thirty-two signatures were required from Grand Junction residents in order to enact a special election. The petition passed with ease, garnering 60 signatures. Jacobs will remain as an active member of the council until after the election. If another resident is elected, Jacobs will be relieved of his duties.
The filing date to run for the open seat was Friday, Jan. 20, with Kirk, Jacobs and Hoefle all filing to run. Hoefle is a former Grand Junction fire chief. Kirk has provided his services to both Greene County EMS and the Grand Junction fire department.
Vacant city council seats are nothing new to the city of Grand Junction.
Kenny Madesen was appointed to the Grand Junction city council in July of last year, replacing Chad Wilson who resigned. Kirk also came forward along with Dennis Murphy in addition to Madsen to fill the vacant seat.
The city has witnessed heavy turnover with the city clerk position in the last year, with several persons stepping down.
The Valentine’s Day special election will roughly cost $5-7,000 Paula Hoskinson said at Grand Junction’s January council meeting.
All registered voters within the city limits of Grand Junction are eligible to vote. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at the east precinct, located at St. Brigid Parish Center on Hager Street in Grand Junction.
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