Mt. Crested Butte gears up for special recall election

Drop off your ballots by 7 p.m. on February 13

By Kendra Walker

A special recall election in Mt. Crested Butte is quickly approaching on February 13, as Mt. CB voters will decide whether to remove council member Roman Kolodziej from office. If he is recalled, voters will also decide on one of four candidates to take his place. The February 13 special election will be the first recall election in Mt. Crested Butte history.

Town clerk Tiffany O’Connell said that 1,001 ballots were mailed to registered voters last week. Everyone should have received their ballots by now and if you did not receive a ballot, please call O’Connell at 970-349-6632 ext. 103 or email her at Voters who make changes to their registration online after January 29 must visit the Mt. Crested Butte Town Hall to obtain a ballot.

There are two questions on the ballot. The first asks whether to recall Kolodziej from the town council. The second ballot question asks for the selection of his replacement if Kolodziej is recalled. That term expires November 2026. The nominated candidates are Peter Esselstyn, Bruce Nation, Tom Rolleczek and Bobbie Sferra. To learn more about Kolodziej and the four candidates, read our candidates Q&A on the previous page and above. 

A majority of votes is needed to pass Kolodziej’s recall, but voters should treat each ballot question individually. For example, if someone votes “no” on the question to recall Kolodziej, it does not discount them from choosing among the four candidates should he be recalled. 

And while there are two ballot questions, both questions do not have to be marked to count, said O’Connell. “If you only answer one question, we will only count the one answer,” she said. 

O’Connell also confirmed that the town has selected four election judges, all of whom are Gunnison County residents but not Mt. Crested Butte residents. 

The petition to recall Kolodziej was turned into the town in November with 45 valid signatures. The recall petition is represented by Mt. Crested Butte residents Michael Jennings, Torrey Carroll and Rajiv Narayana.

The statement of the recall petitioners’ committee on the official ballot reads, “We, the concerned citizens of Mt. Crested Butte have undertaken this recall petition due to our dissatisfaction with Roman Kolodziej’s representation on the Town Council. We believe that Roman Kolodziej has failed to fulfill their duties and we are left with no choice but removal from office.” 

The statement continues, “Our reasons for this recall petition include but are not limited to: 1. Oversaw aggressive spending in a reduced tax revenue environment without consent from Mt. Crested Butte Town Council. 2. Lack of engagement with voting constituents on public matters. 3. Failure to represent voting constituents’ interests. 4. Oversaw the allocation of taxpayer funds from local organization to out-of-state organization without Mt. Crested Butte Town Council awareness, discussion or approval.”

Ballots can be dropped off in person at the ballot box inside Town Hall at 911 Gothic Road, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alternatively, ballots can be mailed to PO Box 5800, Mt. Crested Butte, CO 81225. 

“If you are mailing your ballot, please make sure you give plenty of time for the Post Office to deliver it to the Town,” said O’Connell. “We must receive your ballot by Tuesday, February 13 at 7 p.m.” Ballots received after 7 p.m. on February 13, will not be counted.

Regardless of the outcome of this special election, four town council seats will be up for grabs later this year in November and Mt. Crested Butte citizens will once again have the opportunity to choose their representation if enough candidates run for the open seats. The expiring terms include Mayor Nicholas Kempin and council members Janet Farmer, Michael Bacani and Dwayne Lehnertz. 

During the November 2023 election, Mt. Crested Butte voters passed a ballot measure allowing councilors to run for three consecutive, four-year terms with the ability to run for office again after sitting out for one two-year election cycle. Because the ballot measure passed, Kempin and Farmer are no longer term-limited and all four of the current council members could run for reelection this fall.

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