Mayor, council members take helm
Joyce Jay showed that old habits die hard at the Nov. 18 Wheat Ridge City Council meeting, when she presented Jerry DiTullio with a gift basket in honor of his service to the city.
“Mayor DiTullio…,” Jay said to laughter from the audience, before catching herself.
DiTullio is no longer the city’s mayor — Jay is. The former photography business owner was sworn in as mayor, along with four others who make up a council that will look very different from the previous one.
“I’m very excited about the council we have,” Jay said at the end of the meeting. “There’s a lot of talent up here and I’m hoping to tap into that a lot.”
Jay was a councilwoman herself when she won the Nov. 5 mayoral race against then-District III council member Mike Stites. Stites’ exit from the city’s governing body comes after 10 years of service.
“He’s put in some darn good time for our city and thanks so much, Mike,” Jay told Stites as she presented him with a parting gift.
Stites said before the meeting that he is proud the work he’s done on council over the last decade.
“I had 10 great years,” he said. “And I think we got an awful lot accomplished during those 10 years.”
While Stites steps away from the council, DiTullio stays.
Even though he had to step aside as mayor due to term limits. DiTullio — who has a collective 18 years of city government experience — was once again sworn in as a Wheat Ridge council member. DiTullio squeaked out a victory in a four-way District I race that resulted in incumbent Councilman Davis Reinhart losing his seat.
DiTullio said that he’s looking forward to becoming a councilman again, which he believes will afford him a greater opportunity to directly affect policy decisions.
“I’m looking forward to having a part of the policy process with the council and the citizens of Wheat Ridge,” he said after the meeting.
Before the meeting, Reinhart said he has moved past his loss, but acknowledged that he would have rather attended the council meeting under different circumstances.
“I would, but I think the voters spoke and I think the new council will be good and a forward-looking council,” Reinhart said.
Three new faces were sworn in as council members on Nov. 18: Tim Fitzgerald, Zach Urban and Genevieve Wooden.
Wooden defeated incumbent Councilman Joseph DeMott in a District IV race that was arguably the most surprising outcome on Election Night.
But don’t count out a comeback for DeMott.
“Oh, I got another election in me for sure,” DeMott said before the meeting.
Fitzgerald and Urban won open seats on the council that were vacated by Jay and Stites. Urban said he felt a sense of pride come over him as he was sworn in by Wheat Ridge Presiding Judge Christopher D. Randolph.
“The importance of it is what stood out,” Urban said of the ceremony. “They’re not just words. You’re letting people know that you’re committed to upholding the laws and creating new laws.”