Ruth Kruger replaces Romero on Aspen City Council

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenMarch 4, 2011
Aspen City Council tapped Ruth Kruger on Friday to become its newest member.
Ruth Kruger

By a vote of 3-1, the council appointed Kruger, a longtime real estate broker, to serve out the remainder of the term left for Dwayne Romero, who recently resigned after Gov. John Hickenlooper named him the new director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Kruger will be an interim city council member until June. The seat and the four-year term that goes with it will be put to voters on May 3.

Kruger has said she won't run in the election.

Born in Michigan, Kruger studied at Southern Methodist University and has lived in Aspen for many years. She is the owner of real estate firms Worldwide Exclusive Properties-Aspen and Kruger and Company.

Getting chosen out of a field of eight candidates who wanted Romero's post was the second bit of good news for Kruger. Minutes before her selection, she posted a glowing piece from the Wall Street Journal on Facebook about how Aspen is forging "its own orbit" and defying the national housing slump with rising prices for glamorous homes.

"Aspen is back at the top!" Kruger exclaimed in her posting of the Wall Street Journal article.

The selection of Kruger was done by a secret ballot. After a public meeting where the vote was conducted, Aspen City Councilman Torre explained that because the councilors were at an impasse over who to choose, they went through multiple elimination rounds before narrowing it down to Kruger.

Cathy Markle, Cliff Weiss and Jag Pagnucco also received consideration, Torre said.

The anonymous way in which city council members voted is controversial in some circles. Critics say the public should know which council members voted for which prospective appointees in the same transparent way other important city decisions are made. Officials, however, believe it is within their right to keep the votes private.

Aspen assistant city attorney Jim True told Real Aspen yesterday that a court decision on a similar practice in Fort Morgan, Colo., appears to support the secret council ballots. That case, however, is pending in the Colorado Court of Appeals and could be overturned. True and others also have noted that Fort Morgan's home-rule charter is explicit in its allowance of secret council tallies whereas the home-rule charter in Aspen appears mostly silent on the subject.

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