COMMERCE CITY — City Council got to hear from applicants for the vacant Ward I council seat Monday night, one of whom will be tabbed as the next member of council.
The meeting, which took place after press deadline, was slated to include interviews with four residents who applied following the Jan. 7 resignation of Mayor Pro Tem Dominick Moreno, who now serves in the state House of Representatives.
The Ward I applicants were John A. Griego, Andrew Amador, Gene P. Leffel and Manny Gonzalez. Council is expected to select and seat the applicant selected during the Feb. 4 council session.
Amador, a Commerce City native and Adams City High School graduate, is an architect and project manager currently working with Denver Public Schools. He has served as an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Adjustments since 2008. In his application, Amador pointed to his professional experience as being useful to council.
“By nature, architects are problem solvers and have to make solid decisions for a given set of problems,” Amador wrote in his application. “Exploring logical options and paradigm shifts are always tools in my toolbox as problem-solving strategies.”
Amador cited his top priorities as improving transportation, protecting the city’s unique neighborhoods and supporting the police, fire department and public schools.
Gene Leffel, who has lived in Commerce City for more than 30 years and works as an industrial recycler, has served on the Board of Adjustments since his appointment in August 2006.
Leffel, who previously ran for an at-large seat on council in 2007, is also founder of the Citizens Alliance for Reasonable Zoning, was the first president of the Derby Business Association, is a charter member of the Commerce City Historical Society and has been a regular attendee of council meetings since 2004. In his application, he stressed the need for the city to be open to private business.
“The city needs to maintain a very business friendly environment, with timely response turnarounds on business proposals and inquiries,” Leffel wrote. “Our fees for permits and other charges need to be lower than those in neighborhing communities and our business incentives program needs to be custom tailored for each new applicant.”
Manny Gonzalez, who has participated in the cit’s Quality Community Initiative and is co-founder of the B.E.T.A.S. Foundation, works as program manager for Colorado Youth for a Change in Denver. He also sits on the Facilities Board Committee and a Community Engagement Committee for Adams 14 School District.
Citing “a division between North and South” Commerce City, Gonzalez pointed to driving housing development in all parts of the city as a way “to address the growing disparity.” Gonzalez also said that given the likelihood of the city’s pace of growth slowing in the coming years, “all city projects should be designed to be completely scalable/modular in order to match whatever level of growth actually emerges.”
John Griego, who did not include a résumé in his application, wrote in his application that council should focus on improving the city’s image.
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