Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum
Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

Current Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum and Councilman Tim Plass both intend to seek the mayoral appointment from their colleagues.

Appelbaum wants to represent the city for another two years, building on experience he has gained in regional organizations, while Plass believes he could bring a better approach to running meetings and building consensus.

Both men, and any other council members interested in the job of mayor, will present their platforms at a special meeting Tuesday.

The special meeting before the new City Council with three new members is sworn in Nov. 19 is an innovation after 2011's mayoral selection process was marked by a divided council and accusations of private dealings.

Boulder City Councilman Tim Plass
Boulder City Councilman Tim Plass ( Jonathan Castner )

Under Boulder's weak mayor system, the mayor is chosen by the City Council from among their members. The mayor does not have any special authority but runs the meetings as the chair and represents the city in many regional organizations.

Most Boulder mayors are chosen by unanimous vote, but Appelbaum was chosen in 2011 in a 5-4 vote after no public debate.

A heated discussion about the process broke out afterward.

As a result of the bad feelings left by that vote, the City Council changed the selection process so that rather than call colleagues privately, those who are interested in the position of mayor or mayor pro tem will announce their interest and present their platforms at a special meeting the week before the new council is sworn in.

That gives City Council members a week to weigh their decision.

There will be a public hearing before the vote for mayor and mayor pro tem on Nov. 19.

Appelbaum is seeking his second full term as mayor. He served an interim term in 2009 after Shaun McGrath left the council to take a position in the Obama administration.

If you go

What: Boulder City Council, Special Meeting on Mayoral Platforms

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway

More info: bouldercolorado.gov

Appelbaum had been involved in regional and national organizations like the Colorado Municipal League and the National League of Cities even before becoming mayor, and he sees the relationships he has developed in those organizations and in the Metro Mayors Caucus and the U.S. 36 Mayors and Commissioners Coalition as one of his big contributions as mayor.

He wants to continue that work to make sure that Boulder's interests are represented in statewide issues, especially transportation.

One of his other roles as mayor have been representing the city on panels and at conferences to talk about municipalization and energy issues.

"You do the best to represent the city, not just your personal opinion," he said. "I've done a lot of that, and I think I've done a good job."

Appelbaum knows there is frustration at the length of meetings, but meeting length is mostly driven by the complexity of issues the council addresses. He said he tries to make sure issues get a full hearing and everyone is treated fairly.

"Yes, we have some very long discussions, but we also take on extremely complicated issues, moreso I think than other cites," he said. "We stumble sometimes, but I think we do a good job working through complicated issues."

Plass, a former Planning Board and Landmarks Board member, was elected to council in 2011 and supported Appelbaum for mayor two years ago.

Plass said he appreciates the work Appelbaum has done, particularly on regional issues, and he hopes that Appelbaum can continue in that role with any organizations that don't specifically require that the city representative be the mayor.

However, he believes he could improve meeting management.

"I spent five years running meetings with the Landmarks Board," he said. "I don't want to say anything bad about the current situation, but I would have a different style."

Plass said he has put in time on numerous council subcommittees to work with council members from "the other end of the table" -- the more business-oriented politicians who find themselves at West Flanders Brewing Company on election night, as opposed to the PLAN-Boulder County-affiliated candidates who go to the Hotel Boulderado.

Those subcommittees include the one that developed the current mayoral selection process, another on the employee evaluation process, one addressing issues with volunteer boards and commissions and one on the long-term relationship between the Colorado Chautauqua Association and the city.

"One of the things I've tried to do is work across the aisle, with people from both ends of the table," Plass said. "I would try to build on that as mayor."