Source: Courtesy photo
SNOWMASS VILLAGE- Alyssa Shenk, a seven-year local resident, is the newest member of the Snowmass Village Town Council.
The four current council members on Monday voted unanimously in favor of Shenk’s appointment to the open seat that was vacated by Markey Butler, who was elected as mayor last month.
Arnie Mordkin, a former councilman, and Jamie Knowlton — the two other finalists for the position — received no support during the first round of voting.
“Wow, that’s a consensus,” said Butler, after Shenk swept the vote.
Shenk, who was not present when the decision was first announced, had a similar reaction to hearing that all four council members selected her as their first choice.
“I am excited and I feel really honored,” she said.
Shenk, who was admitted to the Ohio bar in 2002 but is not currently practicing law, added, “I know they said it was unanimous vote. That feels really good because it shows they are working together. I guess I was a little surprised because I watched the interviews and there were so many qualified individuals.”
More than a dozen people initially showed interest in Butler’s seat. Last week, the mayor and councilmen Chris Jacobson, Bob Sirkus and Bill Madsen interviewed eight candidates in a public forum. Since then, more than 50 individuals weighed in by email their favorite selection, with every single interviewee receiving some measure of support.
“We had comments on everyone,” Butler said. “That made me feel really positive.”
Madsen added, “We could have easily sat two councils from the people that interviewed.”
What made Shenk, 38, a top choice in Madsen’s book was her focus on the family in this resort community, as well as her decisive views. He recalled a statement she made during the interview: “Whatever we do in Base Village, it needs to be family oriented.”
Madsen said, “Having that voice sit at this table is invaluable.”
Three themes dominated the selection process: Institutional knowledge, cross-representation on the council and an applicant’s skill set. While Shenk may not come equipped with institutional knowledge — that was Mordkin’s strong suit — in the eyes of the council members, she satisfied the other requirements.
“I feel like in terms of my education and my life experiences, I’m qualified for this position,” Shenk said. “I’ve been working on campaigns since I graduated from college.”
In her application for the seat, she mentions the importance of diversity on council, writing, “I believe that council members should have diverse backgrounds and reflect the community as a whole.”
A veteran of political campaigns in her home state of Ohio, Shenk helped Butler and Fred Kucker with their local elections in 2010 and recently worked on Sirkus’ campaign, she said.
Adept at fundraising, Shenk worked as foundation campaign manager for the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.
Currently the president of the parent-teacher organization and a mom to two elementary school-aged children, Shenk said when her children get older, she would consider a return to the mediation field.
“This is the first time we’ve had two females on the board,” said town clerk Rhonda Coxon.
Last month, Butler became the first woman mayor in the village’s history.
Editor’s note: Aspen Journalism and the Aspen Daily News are collaborating on coverage of Snowmass Village. The Daily News published this story on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.