Former Interim Clerk Dick Lichtenheld (left) and former Interim Deputy Clerk Galen Crowder. (photo by Terri Wiebold)
by Lisa Crockett
Founding fathers are not just historical figures, men who wore powdered wigs and shot muskets. Here in Castle Pines North (CPN), Founder’s Day is not a dim, distant memory, but something new and fresh on everyone’s mind.
Countless citizens took part in the creation of the new city – hours of work contributed by people interested in taking the community to a higher level. Dick Lichtenheld and Galen Crowder were two of those people.
Both men have been committed to the CPN community for years, working as volunteers in various assignments in HOA1 and in the larger CPN community. It was natural, then, that the Castle Pines North Preservation Committee (CPNPC) asked both men to serve on the eight-member Election Commission nearly 18 months ago, when the community began to entertain the idea of incorporation.
“Since a city didn’t yet exist, the Election Commission – which Galen and I were both a part of – was the only legal body in Castle Pines North,” said Lichtenheld, who served as chairman of the group. Also on the commission were Eva Mitchell, Keri Brehm, Earl Millspaugh, Sue Zloth, Carol Langley-Finnegan and Jeff Huff.
During the process of negotiations with Castle Pines Village, Lichtenheld, Crowder, and the rest of the Commission reviewed policies and procedures for running an election. Some of the most important decisions they made were what form the election would take and who would administer the process.
“We ultimately decided on an all-mail ballot since this seems to facilitate higher voter turnout and accuracy,” said Crowder. “We also chose to have the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder run the election, since they really are the experts on elections in this area.”
A whopping 72 percent of all registered voters cast a ballot in the November incorporation election (as compared to a 38 percent voter turnout county-wide.)
But when CPN voters approved the incorporation measure, the Commission still faced a long road ahead. Though a city had been approved, it was not yet established.
“I was asked to serve as the Interim Municipal Clerk,” said Lichtenheld. “My main duty was to oversee the election of the new city council.” Knowing he would need able assistants, Lichtenheld selected his wife, Eva Mitchell, and Crowder to serve as his deputies.
With no city offices to work from, Lichtenheld opened the doors of his CPN home to administer the legal documents and petitions necessary to conducting the election of city officials. Meanwhile, Crowder spent hours checking candidate petitions for accuracy – a task some might find tedious, but one he found to be quite enjoyable.
“It was great to have an opportunity to be of public service,” said Crowder. “I really felt like I was making a difference in the work I was doing.”
Following the city council election on Feb. 12, the Election Commission had one last meeting in which it wrapped up any loose ends and then adjourned itself without resumption. Though it is somewhat of a relief to be finished with this sometimes all-consuming project, both men are excited by the prospects for the new city.
“I’m looking forward to a level of government that will be more responsible to the community,” said Crowder. “The lowest level of government is the one on which you can have the most influence.”
Lichtenheld, too, sees good things in store for the community. “It’s wonderful to be here for the beginning of a new city, to have had a role in laying the foundation,” he said.