Durango Herald file photo
Durango Herald file photo
As a conservative in a liberal town, Paul Broderick probably had the most one-against-four votes of any of the city councilors within the last four years, opposing restrictions on outdoor smoking as well as fees and charge increases for franchise agreements and 911 services.
“It wasn’t easy to get up there and take a position that was counter to the other four councilors and city staff, but there were certain things I felt strongly about. That’s what you are elected to do.” Broderick said.
The conservative stalwart has decided not to seek re-election this spring. Three seats will be up for election in April, but two seats are certain to change because Mayor Doug Lyon is term-limited and can’t run again.
Councilor Christina Rinderle, whose term also is ending, said she will run again.
The two other councilors, Sweetie Marbury and Dick White, have two more years left in their four-year terms.
Anyone interested in running for the council can begin circulating petitions on Feb. 6. Candidates need 25 signatures to get on the ballot. The filing period ends Feb. 26.
Broderick, 40, who is vice president for business banking and a loan officer at First National Bank, said he hopes the nonpartisan council will find a new conservative voice.
“I’m not anti-government,” he said. “I believe in government, but the current trajectory of (government) growth is not sustainable.”
While new government programs and policies can be well-intentioned, Broderick said that “every action has a reaction.”
He worries, for instance, that a new land-use development code will be too restrictive, allowing only for high-end development, which in turn would require the city to create more affordable housing.
“There’s a mentality I see that the government does a good job so more (government) is better. Well, ‘more is better’ is not always the case. There can be too much of a good thing,” he said.
Broderick wants new councilors to appreciate that “you’re not city staff. You don’t work for the city, You work for the people. For anybody who serves in that position, that mind set is critical.”
He said he is “not running again because it is a big time commitment. It’s a big job, and I already have a job and a family.”
He and his wife, Monica, have a 9-year-old daughter, Elise. The long Tuesday night council meetings have been cutting into his home life.
“You see your kid for a half hour in the morning and maybe couple of hours at night. It’s no fun to kiss them goodbye on Tuesday morning and not see them again until Wednesday morning,” he said.
Broderick said his time on the board was gratifying, especially when he received so much support from the community after taking some lonely stands.
“It’s tough to do it up there, but then when you go out in the community, you find you have a lot of support. You get a lot of thanks for that.”
When he opposed the franchise fee for the La Plata Electric Association in early 2012, “I got a lot of unsolicited emails, phone calls, handwritten letters – the majority were from people I didn’t know.”
Broderick had opposed the franchise fee as an unfair tax, noting that the way it was structured on top of a sales tax amounted to double taxation. Voters then rejected it in April but later approved a second version in November after the franchise fee was restructured to apply only to electric consumption.
“There were people who didn’t understand what the whole agreement was,” Broderick said. “These were people who had been in the community for 50 years and had voted in the past on those issues. They were grateful that I took the time to look into it and shed some light on it, explain it for what it was.”
In comparing community support to the council, Broderick said, “I was treated better in the community than I was on the dais.”