How are Moffat County Commissioners’ attendance records?
Communication key part of Moffat County commissioners' responsibilities
September 17, 2016
"One mission, one goal, one team" has become an unofficial slogan and rallying call for Moffat County.
The phrase vocalizes the need for unity in order to achieve economic diversification as regulatory pressure on the energy industry — the county's primary income source — continues to increase.
As elected officials, the three Moffat County commissioners are tasked with maintaining the harmony required for progress by communicating with various departments, boards and organizations throughout the community.
Each commissioner — Chuck Grobe, District 2, John Kinkaid, District 1, and Frank Moe, District 3 — has respective groups to which they are assigned to be responsible for correspondence. By doing so, they are expected to attend meetings to stay abreast of what each group is doing.
To get an idea of how the Board of Moffat County Commissioners handles this task, the Craig Daily Press reached out to representatives from various entities to seek attendance records for regularly scheduled meetings and ask how the commissioners have performed.
Chuck GrobeChuck Grobe
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Commissioner Chuck Grobe serves as liaison to:
• Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC)
• Moffat County Fair Board
• Human Resource Council (HRC)
• Land Use Board
• Moffat County Tourism Association (MCTA)
• Chair of Northwest Transportation Planning Region (NCTR)
AGNC Executive Director Bonnie Petersen said that Grobe has attended six of the last ten monthly meetings and is extremely involved with the group.
"Commissioner Grobe does a good job of representing his constituents with AGNC and also taking AGNC actions back to his group," she said.
Grobe has also taken on a large role in AGNC's grant-funded remapping of Greater Sage Grouse habitat with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Peterson said.
"He's really been very active," she said.
Minutes from the fair board show Grobe has attended eight out of the last 13 meetings. He also helped out at the 2015 and 2016 fairs.
"He's usually really good about being there," Fair Board President Mardi Anson said. "If we need to go back to the county commissioners or if something needs to be answered through the county commissioners, he's very good about going and getting us information."
HRC is responsible for allocating the money raised by Moffat County United Way to local nonprofits and Grobe has attended three of the previous four quarterly meetings.
Executive Director Amanda Arnold said Grobe's participation is on point.
"Every meeting he is very attentive," she said. "He always says at the end he learned a lot… and whenever I've reached out to him he's very responsive."
Land Use Board Representative Jeff Comstock said he didn't need to think twice to say Grobe has been an exceptional liaison to the board, attending all meetings and even participating before he was an elected official.
"I don't even need to go back and check the records on that," he said. "At the most he's missed maybe one meeting and if did it's because he had a reason. He's been outstanding."
Grobe's participation with MCTA was also rated as positive by former Executive Director Melody Villard.
"There's a lot of times that he maybe can't attend and has followed up with me outside of the meeting," she said. "Overall I think it's been a positive experience."
As chair of NCTR, Grobe has perfect attendance for the last seven meetings.
In his own evaluation, Grobe said he felt he had done an "excellent" job in keeping up with his responsibilities as commissioner and communicating with the entities to which he was assigned.
"I've done what I was elected to do," he said.
John KinkaidJohn Kinkaid
Commissioner John Kinkaid's assignments include:
• 14th Judicial District Community Corrections Board
• Craig Chamber of Commerce
• Housing Authority Board
• The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees
• Yampa River Legacy Committee
Craig Police Department Chief Walt Vanatta said in his 18 years on the board, a commissioner has attended the 14th Judicial District Community Corrections Board meeting maybe one time.
“We don’t really have even an expectation that they’re going to be there,” Vanatta said.
Keeping with tradition, Kinkaid has attended no corrections board meetings.
According to Craig Chamber of Commerce meeting minutes, Kinkaid attended one out of 10 meetings leading up to May 16 before Commissioner Frank Moe took over his role as liaison.
Director Christina Oxley said it is critical for the commissioners to participate with the chamber in order to understand how it works and what it is doing.
"It's really difficult to judge the effectiveness of an organization or their potential without being there," she said.
Overall, she said she was disappointed by Kinkaid's performance.
"He didn't attend meetings, he didn't respond to emails, the few meetings he did attend he was not fully present," she said.
Oxley said that having Moe as a contact for the county has been a definite improvement.
"We do really appreciate that Frank has taken that over and attends the meetings as often as he can," she said.
Kinkaid said he believed Moe was a good fit for chamber liaison, considering his role with Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership.
"I'm happy that Frank's doing that now, not that I minded doing it," he said. "I'm glad it's working out."
As vice chair of the Housing Authority Board, Kinkaid has attended six of the previous 12 meetings as well as the senior Christmas party.
Housing Authority Board Chair Tom Mathers said he doesn't mind if Kinkaid misses a meeting and the commissioner has been active within the board.
"When we need stuff he gets it for us," he said. "(Kinkaid) is fine on that."
Mathers, who has also served as a commissioner, said those in the position are always forced to prioritize goals, and Kinkaid has done an excellent job as an advocate for the local coal industry.
"You've got to pick and choose your battles and (Kinkaid) has been trying to keep the coal market going," he said. "People love him for that."
TMH Board of Trustees Chair Forrest Luke said Kinkaid has attended six out of 12 hospital board meetings, but all three commissioners receive regular updates from the board at their weekly meetings.
Kinkaid's previous experience as a board member has been beneficial to his current role as liaison, Luke said.
"I'd say he's been effective," he said.
Yampa River Legacy Committee depends on regional partnerships and having Moffat County participate is crucial to its success, Chairman Ben Beall said.
Kinkaid has attended three of the previous seven committee meetings, but Beall said there is usually always someone from Moffat County present.
"It's not devastating to the partnership if (Kinkaid) can't make it," he said.
Kinkaid said he has tried to balance between advocating for Moffat County's energy economy and fulfilling his roles locally as a liaison.
"Everything has a trade-off," he said.
Now that he has established relationships with state and federal politicians that help give the county a platform, he wants to work on improving his local relationships, he said.
"I consciously try to put more effort into the local stuff now," he said. "I've built up the contact network back in Washington to where I can focus on being a better liaison and making more meetings."
Kinkaid is up for reelection this November.
Frank MoeFrank Moe
Commissioner Frank Moe is responsible for keeping up with the following:
• Airport Advisory Board
• Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership
• Moffat County Department of Social Services
• Maybell Volunteer Fire Department Advisory Board
• Moffat County Planning Commission
He also took on the role of Craig Chamber of Commerce correspondent.
Airport Advisory Board and Planning Commission representative Jerry Hoberg said the two entities meet as needed, and Moe's attendance isn’t necessarily required.
"He doesn't attend a lot of meetings, but he doesn't really have to because if I have a Planning Commission meeting, then I meet with the commissioners a week later," he said.
Hoberg said he actually preferred that Moe not be present for those meetings so the board can reach its own conclusions and then bring its recommendation forward to the three commissioners.
Audrey Danner, CMEDP's previous executive director, said Moe was engaged and always gave a notice when he was unable to attend a meeting, which was not a frequent occurrence.
Attendance records show Moe was at eight of the previous 13 CMEDP meetings.
To keep in communication with Moffat County Department of Social Services, Moe meets with Director Dollie Rose every two weeks.
Rose said if there is an urgent issue, Moe is her contact and he has been successful in fulfilling that role.
"It's been great," she said.
Maybell Volunteer Fire Department Advisory Board President Sherrie Johnson said Moe wasn’t as active in Maybell during his first year in office as he is now, but once the town started inviting him to events he attended every one.
“He and his wife both have been participating in anything we’ve asked them to do, whether it’s work days, functions, meetings,” she said.
Moe has also reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help Maybell with a turkey vulture problem that is affecting its park.
All areas of the county are equally important and it is his responsibility to make sure he is staying in contact, Moe said.
"We've got a responsibility to every citizen in the county," he said.
Reviewing his performance, Moe said he believes he has a good rapport with the groups he is assigned to and want to emphasize that he is focused on being available at all times.
"I'm available 24 hours," he said.
In summaryIn summary
As many of the representatives of the boards, organizations and departments contacted by the Craig Daily Press noted, the commissioners are tasked with a large amount of responsibility and have a constantly busy schedule.
"If you participate in every meeting, you are really, really busy," Mathers said. "It's almost impossible."
And, as the commissioners hit the ground running once in office, they must learn as they go along.
"There's no book on how to be a commissioner," Mathers said.
Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.