Colleagues laud first-year Commissioner Danner’s commitment |

Colleagues laud first-year Commissioner Danner’s commitment

Collin Smith

Audrey Danner would not think of making a decision without all the facts.

Particularly in her new position as Moffat County commissioner, where she has made an impression on those around her because of an unstoppable curiosity and a hunger to be informed.

Impressions were not always so kind.

Danner was appointed Dec. 7, 2008, by the Moffat County Republican Central Committee to fill the seat of former Commissioner Saed Tayyara, a legend in local politics, who died from cancer.

“I was a little unsure as to how she would fit in with two guys with ranching backgrounds,” Commissioner Tom Mathers said, referring to himself and Commissioner Tom Gray, who make up the rest of the county’s top executive officers.

“I didn’t know what her philosophy might be as to land use and other things because there was no election for her to say that,” Mathers said.

It has now been about seven months since Danner took office, but it didn’t take near that long before Mathers realized his folly, however, and Danner became, in his estimation, an invaluable steward of the county.

“She never pops off like I do, and she listens to every side (of a discussion) before she makes a decision,” Mathers said. “And she asks lots of questions.

“I’m proud to say she’s on our commission. She hit the ground with her feet running, and she’s relentless. She never quits. I don’t know who could replace her, or if Saed could have done any better.”

Danner said she never grew up with an eye toward being a politician, and she’s still taken aback when someone comes up and addresses her by her formal title.

“Someone will say, ‘Excuse me, commissioner,’ and I think, ‘Oh yeah, they’re talking to me,'” Danner said.

But, it’s a job that’s easy to love, she added.

“I am an oldest child, and grew up with some autonomy and making my own decisions,” Danner said. “So there’s that piece. I’ve had strange jobs in the past. This is a challenging position, but I absolutely love the topics and the learning that goes on every day.”

She knew there would be a tremendous breadth of topics for her to learn. She would need to be an expert in everything from water rights to the Craig/Moffat County Airport if she was going to serve the citizens of Moffat County well.

And, as Mathers said, every day she approaches the job with a purpose.

One day, Danner might be in a county assessor workshop, learning what that office does and how it affects the tax roll, both for residents and the county. The next, she might travel to Rio Blanco County and tour a natural gas facility.

Danner said she needs to learn these things, because all decisions can have unintended consequences. If politicians are going to make choices for people, they need to know what that will mean for the people they swore to represent, she said.

“There is no right answer to any one decision,” Danner said. “You have to do background and research.”

The county soon may face some of its toughest decisions of the past 10 years, Gray said, and he’s happy to have a person of Danner’s caliber working for the county.

“She gets herself informed,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of things – with the state of the economy and the unknowns ahead of us – to be vigilant for. The only way a government can prepare for the unknown is to be prepared and not make decisions without the facts. She’s an asset.”

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