COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Just before 6 p.m. Monday, the City Council chose Stephannie Fortune to replace current District 3 Councilman Richard Skorman, who earlier announced his resignation at the end of the year to focus on his downtown businesses.
Fortune, 58, is a longtime community activist who has worked for several elected leaders at the local, state and national levels.
"I'm excited," she said. "I'm really excited because I think District 3 is an incredible district, and I'm honored to be chosen to be the voice of the constituents. My first objectives are wildfire mitigation, public safety and homelessness. I want to stay true to the work Richard done with the homeless."
Although Skorman earlier said that he wanted to be succeeded by a younger or minority candidate to add diversity to the Council, Fortune's views on issues such as opposing recreational marijuana seemed to be in line with the majority of the Council.
The Council narrowed the initial list of 25 candidates down to seven.
Among them was former councilwoman and El Paso County commissioner Sallie Clark, who received no Council support but was recognized for her past accomplishments.
Another candidate was former councilwoman Brandy Williams, who served from 2011 to 2013 and currently is Fountain's city engineer; she received support from one Council member.
Eight Council members (minus Skorman) began interviewing and questioning the finalists shortly after 2 p.m., with each being asked 11 questions.
After a brief discussion, Fortune received support from four Council members; two supported Terry Martinez; one supported Williams and one supported Art Glenn. In a second count, Fortune and Martinez got the single shows of support to give Fortune the required support from five on the Council and Martinez finished second with three.
Fortune's appointment won't become official until an official vote and swearing in at the first Council meeting in January.
Late this weekend, the Council received a letter from a District 3 resident who expressed concern that the selection process doesn't include input from other district residents.
The author -- requesting anonymity and claiming to be a city employee -- asked that the Council delay selecting a finalist until the remaining candidates can be asked questions that include feedback from district residents.
Tom Strand, president of the Council, said that members are following the city's code that dictates how to fill in-term vacancies.
"We've had plenty of opportunities for people to have input to the process," he said. "We heard from only one constituent at the last minute. We did this type of a selection last year with Andy Pico, who was elected to the state Legislature. We know what we're doing."
Skorman monitored the process but wasn't allowed to participate in it.
To see the names of the finalists and what they were asked, visit: https://coloradosprings.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10336034&GUID=4A5CD375-34A2-4697-8D3D-4ED305C06065.