New business development, oil and gas exploration and what some predict as an impending residential growth boom ...
It's fairly certain to say that Craig and Moffat County are on the cusp of a major change that could shift the economic, residential and social dynamics of the area. When and how this happens is dependent on thorough planning and well-developed strategies.
Which brings the editorial board to its point: Based on these happenings, it's time to re-evaluate the need for a county manager/administrator. The editorial board stops short of giving an all-out endorsement to the new position -- and thus another layer of government.
Instead, we'd like to see officials take the steps to at least entertain the notion and host public work sessions to debate the pros and cons of such a position.
It is the editorial board's belief that the right county manager -- not just anyone, mind you -- would make both practical and financial sense.
First, the practical side.
Ideally, the right county manager would bring to the table a wealth of knowledge and expertise from previous work experience. The manager would understand the importance of ushering in change while maintaining the existing roots of the area.
This trained professional also would serve as a singular figurehead of county government, a central figure where the operation starts and stops, while simultaneously being an extension of the county commission, and thus still accountable to the public via its elected representatives.
The financial sense of hiring a county manager/administrator lies with this: Though salaries for such an employee can be costly and reach six figures, any manager/administrator worth his or her salt will bring in much more through grants.
An integral qualification of any county manager/administrator is experience in grant writing. A qualified person will be able to essentially pay for him or herself, and hopefully much more, through the money brought in through state and federal grants.
This person also can serve as a negotiator between the county and oil and gas companies, ensuring that Moffat County's environmental and financial interests are protected when the onslaught of exploration begins.
The editorial board's position on this matter shouldn't be misconstrued as a referendum on the county commission. We believe the board is serving the public well.
And, in the current state of our area, that kind of public service was justified.
However, as the business, economic and residential climates change, so must the approach to preparing for it. Maybe a county manager/administrator is the right thing to do, a sign of the times, if you will.
Or maybe it isn't.
There's only one way to decide -- talk about it.