It's been a careful last 12-plus years for long-time Craig resident Mike Brinks. A period, mind you, that he's been mindful of staying out of the limelight.
"My great accomplishment has been not being in the headline of the paper, but here I am," Brinks joked on Saturday, during an interview centered on his tenure with the Moffat County School District.
But, retirement has its share of privileges even if that means a little dreaded publicity. Brinks, 56, the school district's budget and finance director, will retire from a career of public service on Dec. 31.
"I don't know really how I feel about it," Brinks said. "I'm kind of sad to leave. I'm going to miss it."
Since 1994, Brinks has managed the finances of the school district. At times, that particular task has been daunting, considering Moffat County ranks among the lowest-funded school districts in the state.
"The funding formula," Brinks said. "We've been fighting that ever since I've been here, trying to get enough funding for the education programs we wanted."
The solution to the problem usually has meant trying to strike a balance between revenues and expenditures, he said.
"They've got to increase revenues or decrease expenditures," Brinks said. "Decreasing expenditures means increasing class sizes and (data) shows that doesn't work in educating students."
Still, despite the fiscal headaches and challenges, the job hasn't been without its rewards for Brinks. He said it's given him a chance to work with superintendent Pete Bergmann and assistant superintendent Joel Sheridan, whom he considers friends.
The school district, Brinks said, is chock full of "good people doing good work."
Brinks is a 1968 graduate of Moffat County High School, and has lived in the area since 1955. Before going to work for the school district, he worked in public accounting.
He is married to Moffat County Assessor Suzanne Brinks, who won an uncontested re-election bid in November. Don't expect to see Mike Brinks' name on a ballot anytime soon, though. He said he's content to leave the business of politics and government to his wife.
"I've thought about it for three or four seconds," he said.
Instead, he plans to spend his retirement years doing some tax work here and there, and traveling. Trips to Australia and Everglades City, Fla., are already in the works.
Like other jobs, Brinks said he's enjoyed his time serving Moffat County's educational system.
"Actually, I've enjoyed everything I've ever done," he said.
Mike and Suzanne Brinks have a son, Darren, who is a 1991 graduate of Moffat County High School, and is a doctor completing his residency in Philadelphia.
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.