Craig City Council member concludes eight-year stint
Craig native Joe Herod said there was a distinct philosophy he carried while serving on the Craig City Council for the last eight years.
It was, simply, to listen.
“I have a hard time listening to people so I had to learn to listen to people and try to understand why things were happening the way they happened,” he said. “A new city councilor coming on needs to sit back and listen to what is going on and make the right choices.”
Herod, 49, capped an eight-year stint on the city council Tuesday night. With a smile, he made the motion for the city council to adjourn its meeting.
Although Herod will be able to run for city council again in a few years, he said his city service has come to a close for the time being. He is unsure what his political future holds.
“Right now, I am just going to take a little break for a while and see how it goes,” he said.
Serving on the council wasn’t always easy, Herod said.
“Being on city council, you made a few enemies and you made some people happy, but overall, you needed to look at the citizens and see what is best for them,” he said.
While trying to do best by residents, Herod found he needed to lean on his ears and less on his voice.
Some of his decisions, he said, were swayed “just by listening to people.”
“Because I didn’t listen at first, I thought I knew what was going on,” he said. “I got different people who came to me and said, ‘Listen, this is what happened and why.’ You have to change and you have to listen to people. I think that’s a big deal right there.”
Herod’s philosophy while serving on the council, he said, was rooted not so much in developing policies and ordinances to invoke change, but rather in shoring up city services and maintaining infrastructure.
“Water lines, sewer lines, the road and bridge — all that, for me, was an important thing,” he said. “Making ordinances and passing ordinances, I have a hard time sometimes doing that.”
Perhaps what he is most proud of, he said, was the city’s budgeting and fiscal responsibility over the last several years.
“I’m just happy that we allowed staff and our city manager to bring us a budget every year and that they worked well with the money they had,” he said. “It wasn’t like we had to cut a lot of the budget every year.
“That’s what I’m happy about — that every year staff cut their budgets to make things right.”
Herod said there was “not one thing” he would have done differently while serving on the council.
“If I say or do something, it is pretty much the way I feel like it should be,” he said.
“Everything that’s happened over the last eight years I felt like we did great and we did a good job on. I’m glad that I got a chance to do it and, you know, someday I may get to do it again.”
However, there is one item Herod wishes he could stay for — the negotiations between the city council and Moffat County Commission concerning the Moffat County Public Safety Center.
“Every year at budget (time) we talked about it, but there was nothing that we could do until the time came, you know,” he said. “Now, I can’t be there when they make the choices.”
One of the last votes Herod made during his council tenure was to award an equipment bid for the road and bridge department. It was a choice he faced three or four other times — shop local or go with the lowest bid.
In the most recent case, the council saved more than $19,000 by awarding the bid to the lowest, out-of-town bidder, he said.
“I firmly believe that the City of Craig should shop as much as they can local,” he said. “And … we did exactly what we had to do. We couldn’t do it any other way.”
In some circles, Herod was mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate during this year’s city election. That role is something he might consider “someday,” he said.
“In the future? Yes, maybe,” Herod said. “But right now, with (my wife) Lila being the (Moffat) County Clerk (and Recorder), there is not room for two politicians (in the house).”
Herod had a message for the several city council candidates vying for his and two other seats in the April 5 election.
“I would say to these new guys coming on, if they don’t get elected, don’t give up,” he said. “Try again in four years because if you want to serve your community, (city council) is the best way.”
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UPDATE: The West Fire is now burning 2,403 acres Monday afternoon, after only about 700 acres were burning late Monday morning.