Breckenridge council returns to full strength of seven with appointment of new member |

Breckenridge council returns to full strength of seven with appointment of new member

Dick Carleton reacts Tuesday night at Breckenridge Town Hall after it was announced that he won a majority vote among sitting council members to fill an opening in their ranks.
Eli Pace /

From a pool of 21 candidates, Breckenridge Town Council settled on Dick Carleton on Tuesday to fill a vacancy among its ranks and welcomed the addition of a longtime local with a lengthy list of community involvement.

Carleton’s appointment brings the number of voting members on council back up to seven. He’s expected to serve out the remainder of Mike Dudick’s term, which expires in April 2020.

“I’m very humbled,” Carleton said of the appointment. “Gosh, with 21 people, I’m proud of our town for all the interest (in the open seat), and I’m very honored. I look forward to learning a lot.”

Dudick, co-owner and CEO of Breckenridge Grand Vacations, resigned from council at the beginning of April, citing his company’s plans to get into workforce-housing projects and its ongoing efforts to pursue a hotel development project at the base of Peak 8.

Since the early 1980s, Carleton has been a business owner in Breckenridge, and he’s a managing partner in Storm Restaurants, which currently runs two award-winning establishments, the Hearthstone and Mi Casa.

The resume Carleton submitted with his application letter details a deep history of community service, and he’s actively involved with numerous homeowners’ boards, the Breckenridge Police Advisory Committee, Summit Middle School Building Accountability Committee, and Communities that Care Community Initiative to address youth substance abuse in addition to serving as the treasurer for the Breckenridge chapter of The Colorado Restaurant Association and chairman of Breckenridge Events Committee.

How Carleton’s addition might affect council’s makeup remains to be seen, but the difficultly its members had in coming to a decision was apparent Tuesday as the sitting council members suffered through three rounds of voting to come to a consensus.

Town charter dictates that when a vacancy arises, council must appoint a replacement within 60 days, decided by a majority vote among the sitting council members. To be selected, Carleton needed at least four votes.

After town manager Rick Holman explained the process, each council member was provided a ballot with the names of all 21 applicants on it. After the votes were counted, Carleton and Dave Rossi both had two while Steve Gerard and Leigh Girvin each got one.

Because nobody received a clear majority, council repeated the process a second time, only this round council could only cast ballots for the people who received votes in the first.

“This sucks for anyone who wants to know my opinion,” Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron told the gallery as he waded through the process. “There are so many quality people, so many people that have given back to the community.”

Explaining some of the factors that could come into his decision, Bergeron wondered out loud if he should support someone who he thinks agrees with him, someone who might balance out council or the candidate with the most impressive resume of civic involvement.

“This is just really, really painful,” he said, explaining that just about every one of 21 applicants came with a wealth of community service.

After the second round of voting, council was evenly split between Rossi and Carleton, kicking Girvin and Gerard out of the running. Holman asked if council would like to discuss the decision before going to a third vote.

Councilman Gary Gallagher said he’d like to take another shot at reaching a majority decision before diving into discussions, and that’s all that it took.

“We have a majority vote-getter and congratulations to Dick Carleton,” Holman announced after counting up the votes for a third time.

Detailing his reasons for running, Carleton said his deep involvement in local matters has led to a strong “desire to engage council” in their discussions.

“Hopefully, I have something to offer that can help them,” he said. “There are a lot of big decisions coming, and I have a lot to get up to speed on quickly.”

Explaining how people can expect him to operate as a councilman, Carleton explained that he hopes to strike a balance between promoting the quality of life here, maintaining a vibrant business community and protecting the environment. “We need to consider all of our community members’ needs in making these decisions.”

After the announcement, individual council members approached Carleton to personally congratulate him on the appointment.

The Summit Daily filed an open records request Wednesday morning seeking details on how each individual council member voted in each round. The request was not fulfilled by presstime, but the town has three days to respond to the request.

In other business, council unanimously passed two ordinances designating a pair of properties, Searle Resident at 300 Washington Ave. and the Hilliard House at 110 S. Ridge St., as landmarks, both on second reading.

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