In other action...
During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:
• Approved, 2-0, a $458,062 bid from Wagner Equipment for two new motor graders for the Road and Bridge Department.
• Approved, 2-0, a $235,702 bid from Rush Truck Center for two new tractor trucks for the Road and Bridge Department.
• Approved, 2-0, a proclamation declaring May 19 to 25 as Emergency Medical Services Week.
• Approved, 2-0, a resolution amending the Moffat County employee handbook regarding overtime calculation.
— Commissioner John Kinkaid was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
“That’s why the voters need to know about this. They need to know because he was elected to be your full-time county commissioner.”
— Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe about fellow commissioner John Kinkaid’s unexpected 30-day leave of absence.
Craig Less than four months into his first term as a Moffat County commissioner, John Kinkaid abruptly announced a 30-day leave of absence and hasn’t been heard from since.
The commissioner made his announcement April 19 in an email to Moffat County Commission Chairman Chuck Grobe and Moffat County Human Resources Director Lynette Running. The email read: “I need to take the next 30 days off for medical and personal reasons. I really can’t say any more. If it needs to be without pay, that’s fine. I understand.”
The announcement came without warning, commissioners Grobe and Tom Mathers said Tuesday. They said Kinkaid has been completely out of contact since the middle of April. He has continued to receive a paycheck.
Mathers and Grobe said they have reached out to Kinkaid on several occasions to find out why he took a leave. Those calls, and several more from the heads of numerous county boards on which Kinkaid sits, have not been returned, Grobe said Tuesday.
“I don’t know where he is, and to be totally candid, it’s most concerning because he’s a public official,” Grobe said. “His lack of communication is what’s sad about the whole thing.”
Kincaid did not return phone calls from the Craig Daily Press on Tuesday.
Kinkaid’s colleagues and Moffat County staff have yet to apply more significant pressure on him about his absence and lack of communication. Because he used the word “medical” in his email, Moffat County Attorney Rebecca Tyree has advised the commission to tread lightly in its attempts to contact Kinkaid so not to inadvertently violate medical privacy laws.
Mathers thinks it could be a medical problem that has sidelined Kinkaid until at least May 20, but he also said a reasonable person would have provided his coworkers with an explanation or a return phone call.
The county would be handcuffed if it experienced an emergency or a situation that required a third commissioner vote, Grobe said.
“I’m convinced he has a medical problem, but he should keep in contact with us,” Mathers said. “Even if he can’t come in (for a meeting) because of a medical problem, he could still keep us in the loop or try to be available by phone if we need him.”
Kinkaid, a retired control room operator at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s Craig Station, announced his candidacy for Moffat County Commission in February 2011. During his campaign he promised voters he was in it for the duration and would serve as “their full-time county commissioner.”
Kinkaid was sworn into office Jan. 8. April 19 marked his 101st day in office.
“That’s why the voters need to know about this,” Grobe said. “They need to know because he was elected to be your full-time county commissioner.”
A Moffat County Commissioner earns an annual salary of $58,500, or $77,727 when benefits are included. Kinkaid has been receiving paychecks during his hiatus, Running said.
Joe Moylan can be reached at 970-875-1794 or jmoylan@CraigDailyPress.com