Schmidt and Ladoulis watch from the cheap seats
by Mark Reaman
The town of Crested Butte has a new mayor for the next six weeks: Jackson Petito. Petito was chosen by his fellow Town Council members to lead the board until a runoff election is completed December 19 and the new mayor is seated in early January. At that time, either Jim Schmidt or Chris Ladoulis will take the reins as mayor of Crested Butte for the next two years.
The council switched hands Monday, November 20 when three of the four elected councilmembers were sworn in for duty. Jackson Petito, Kent Cowherd and Will Dujardin all took the oath of office. Newly elected councilmember Chris Haver was out of town and will be sworn in at the next meeting. Those three joined holdover council members Laura Mitchell and Paul Merck at the council table. The five then selected Petito, who received the most votes by far in the November 7 election, to sit as interim mayor until a permanent mayor is elected in December. Merck was selected to be the mayor pro tem.
In the meantime, both Schmidt and Ladoulis stepped out of their council seats and joined the audience on the other side of the council table for the rest of the meeting. Neither could attend the executive session held at the end of the council meeting to discuss a potential land purchase.
Since Schmidt and Ladoulis came out on top of a four-man race for mayor, one of them will be voted in as the regular mayor on December 19. Mail ballots will go out to Crested Butte voters starting November 27. The Crested Butte News and KBUT radio are planning a mayoral forum on the evening of December 7 at the Mallardi Theater to see if either candidate is no longer interested in affordable housing.
Because of the timing of the official election and scheduling of council meetings, it will be January 8 before the new mayor is seated and Petito is relegated back to his side seat.