Eli DeBono, pictured at right,

Eli DeBono, pictured at right, has been selected to fill the Trinidad City Council term of Anthony Mattie. Here DeBono is shown with his father Nick, left, when Nick was celebrated for 50 years of membership with the American Legion in 2019. 


Taking up the bulk of last week’s regular Trinidad City Council meeting, council conducted interviews of applicants who desired to fill the unexpired term of councilmember Anthony Mattie. All city council members were at City Hall but spread out through all the various offices throughout the building.

“Council shall choose by majority vote, a duly qualified person to fill the vacancy,” said Mayor Phil Rico kicking off the voting process. “That’s what we are here to do tonight. Please note that whoever is appointed, that this will be an 18 month period until the next election.”

Following 10-minute interviews with each applicant, councilmembers, secluded from one another in different rooms, wrote their votes for who they felt best exemplified the experience and fortitude necessary to adequately fill Mattie’s seat.

Once the first votes were tallied, Terry Brown, Eli DeBono, and Christopher Gearhart were selected as three finalists for the position. City Attorney Les Downs then instructed council to cast two votes of the three finalists.

Results for the second round of voting came back as a tie between Eli DeBono and Chris Gearhart. Downs then instructed council to vote for one of those two, either DeBono or Gearhart.

“Ok, we have a winner,” said Downs. “It is Eli DeBono.”

During his interview, DeBono said he had taught math and science as well as coached for 34 years in Trinidad School District No. 1 as well as provided security services in the area for 25 years and had two successful businesses under his belt.

“I do understand balance sheets and budgets, as well as profits and losses,” said DeBono. “I currently work in radio. I’ve interviewed doctors, writers, celebrities, lawyers, and other intriguing people for our public affairs program with over 400 interviews to date. I have the honesty and ability to be able to communicate with council, residents, and organizations.”

Other noteworthy agenda items

After offering congratulations to Mr. DeBono, council went into their discussion period at which time Councilmember Williamson brought up that he’d like to see council discuss or be educated on the city’s use of force policy with the police department.

“I think that you’re spot on as far as that goes,” said Rico. “If you’ve been keeping track of the police changes that passed at the state level, there was something that was passed at the state level and may happen even from the Federal level”

“We had a meeting with the police chief and we talked about use of force,” said City Manager Mike Valentine. “He’s putting together a memo but all of the policies of the police department are open and they’re on the police department’s website for the public to see.” 

Councilmember Karen Griego reported that she had attended the Historic Main Street Board meeting and they were still pushing forward with firework festivities for the Fourth of July.

“I think all of us can agree that Trinidad needs a little uplifting right now as does the rest of the nation,” said Griego.

Also during the meeting, council approved a second reading of an ordinance authorizing the City of Trinidad Business Bridge Loan program for $45,774.54. This would help set up a program with the Colorado Lending Source allowing the city to lend up to $500,000 to area businesses falling under their criteria, according to Trinidad Economic Development Director Wally Wallace.

Businesses will be able to apply for up to $10,000 and zero percent interest. The loan would not have to be paid back for 2 years and there would be no required payments on loans for the first six months upon receiving.


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