Officials in Moffat County agree to speak with ‘One voice’
January 11, 2018
CRAIG — The Local Marketing District Board will reboot later this month after local officials responsible for its oversight met to change their approach.
"In November of 2015, the voters of Moffat County narrowly approved the Local Marketing District, and here we are, on Jan. 4, 2018, and we are essentially back at square one," said Mayor John Ponikvar.
Governance of the district is a complex dance between a 17-member LMD ex-officio board — composed of representatives from the city of Craig, the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners and the town of Dinosaur — and a volunteer LMD Board, a separate entity — composed of seven citizens, three each appointed by the city and the county and one appointed by the town of Dinosaur.
In December, four of seven citizens resigned from the volunteer board, citing interference from Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe, an ex-officio member and county liaison.
Following the resignations, the LMD board no longer had a quorum and has been unable to conduct business.
Ponikvar blamed a lack of structure in the LMD ex-officio board and a lack of clarity about the roles of liaisons.
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"We need to come together and understand what our roles and responsibilities are, and we need to come out of here and speak with one voice," Ponikvar said.
Ex-officio members deliberated the creation of their own by-laws, operating rules and rules of order before deciding that might be cumbersome.
"I don't know that we really need that level of structure," said City Council Member Andrea Camp.
Instead, members decided to speak with one voice by undertaking the following.
• Meeting on a quarterly basis
• Making decisions and giving direction and input to the LMD Board through a consensus made by the ex-officio board rather than determined independently by one of the entities.
• Defining the role of the liaisons to the LMD Board. Liaisons are to observe and report back to the entity they represent. Liaisons are not to represent the entity, or ex-officio, particularly on matters pertaining to the operating plan, budget and bylaws.
• Reinforcing the ex-officio voting procedures, giving each of the 17 members an equal vote.
Another step in moving forward is the appointment of new members to the LMD board, a task the Board of County Commissioners completed at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, with the appointments of Michael Morriss and Rich Thompson to represent them.
The commissioners also discussed the LMD ex-officio meeting.
"I, personally, was at a disadvantage during that meeting," Moe said during a discussion of the LMD ex-officio meeting during the commissioners’ meeting. "I felt the meeting was to hang Frank Moe, and I felt that the meeting was not in the spirit of what we had offered and talked about."
Despite feeling put on the spot, Moe acknowledged the meeting resulted in solutions.
"The net result was positive. I think the next meetings that we have, the tone needs to be changed in the future," he said.
City Council members also discussed their views of the LMD ex-officio meeting during their meeting Tuesday, Jan. 9.
"It's like pulling teeth working with the county. I don't understand that," said Councilman Jarod Ogden.
Councilman Tony Bohrer stated the meeting was essential, even though it wasn't comfortable.
"Even if it was tough in some areas, I hope it got some points across," he said.
Councilman Chris Nichols, who described the ex-officio meeting as "painful," continues to have concerns about the decision-making process.
"I think it leaves it open to individual meddling, like what we had that caused the demise of the board," he said.
The city will meet Tuesday, Jan. 16 to select its two representative from a pool of five applicants.
"I am so excited about the appointments," Moe said. "All of these people have my support. I'm going to back them up in every way that I can."
The existing and newly appointed LMD board members are expected to meet later this month.
"I think we are headed in the right direction," Ogden said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.