The Cortez City Council held a reception for outgoing members Bob Archibeque and Shawna McLaughlin on Tuesday, just before swearing in five newly elected members.
Archibeque and McLaughlin ended their terms Tuesday after eight and six years on the council, respectively. Mayor Karen Sheek awarded each a commemorative plaque and a key to the city, and thanked them for their service.
The regular council meeting started with the swearing-in of re-elected members Jill Carlson and Orly Lucero, and newcomers Sue Betts, Gary Noyes and Michael Lavey.
During the reception for the two former council members, Sheek thanked Archibeque for supporting her when she first ran for City Council and reminisced about the time she and McLaughlin were the only female council members. In addition to the plaques and keys to the city, she gave the departing council members a bag of cookies to remind them of the treats she brings to council workshops.
Over a celebratory cake, several members of city staff expressed their appreciation for Archibeque and McLaughlin.
“I always appreciate hearing things that I don’t think about, and I think you guys opened my eyes to a lot of things,” councilman Ty Keel said. “I want to say thanks.”
Archibeque said he looked forward to spending time with his grandchildren on Tuesday nights, but added that he would miss working with the council.
“I’m going to miss all the great people from the city,” he said. “It’s been a great ride.”
McLaughlin also said she would miss the people on the council and that she was proud of what she had done to promote local business.
“It’s been an extremely rewarding experience,” she said.
Archibeque and McLaughlin presided over several major actions for the city, such as the legalization of recreational marijuana within city limits – a decision McLaughlin supported and Archibeque opposed – and the Heart and Soul community planning project, which led to the upcoming Main Street median installation, among other things.
After the swearing-in ceremony at the regular meeting, Noyes and Betts’ first action as council members was to make a motion to appoint Lucero as mayor instead of Sheek. Lucero declined to accept the role, and Sheek was re-appointed. Lucero was appointed mayor pro tem, replacing Keel.
Later in the meeting, the council appointed members to serve as liaisons on the city’s advisory boards and other committees.
Keel will remain on the Golf Advisory Board, and Lavey will remain on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
Betts was appointed to the Historic Preservation Board, Carlson to the Montezuma Community Economic Development Association, and Lavey to the Cortez Cultural Center.
Sheek and Noyes will serve on the Mesa Verde Country Tourism board, and Sheek also will be on the library advisory board and Southwest Colorado Council of Governments.
In a last personnel-related decision, the council voted unanimously to hire Chris Burkett as the interim city manager after Shane Hale departs in May.