Commissioners want western GarCo rep on planning panel |

Commissioners want western GarCo rep on planning panel

Ryan Hoffman

The Garfield County Planning Commission needs greater geographic diversity, county commissioners stated Monday.

The current makeup of the commission — which consists of seven regular members and three associate members — consists largely of members from Glenwood Springs and New Castle. In discussing the need to fill a vacant regular seat and a vacant associate seat, Commissioner Mike Samson said he would like to see more representation from the western part of the county.

That desire regarding the current makeup of the commission was voiced back in December when county commissioners discussed the need to fill a vacant associate seat, according to a county memo.

And earlier this year, longtime planning commission member Sean Martin of Carbondale announced his resignation, citing an increasingly busy work schedule. Martin’s departure opened up a vacancy among the seven regular positions and left Carbondale without any representation on the board.

Additionally, none of the current planning commissioners — all of the seats on the board are volunteer positions — are from Parachute, Rifle or Silt.

Four of the six regular seats are occupied by members form Glenwood Springs, while one is held by a Battlement Mesa resident, and the other is from New Castle. The two current associate members are both from New Castle.

The county advertised the vacant associate position in January and February, and although a couple of inquiries were submitted, the county received no letters of interest, according to the memo.

“I would love to see some people from Parachute, from Rifle or Silt, or I suppose another from New Castle or Carbondale,” Samson said Monday.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky seconded Samson’s remarks and suggested that staff should explore other advertising avenues, such as on KSUN Community Radio in Battlement Mesa and in the Battlement Mesa Service Association newsletter, in order to reach people in the western part of the county.

Commissioners tabled the discussion to allow staff more time to generate interest in the positions.

In recent years the county has not had an issue in filling planning commission positions, said Tamra Allen, planning manager.

“This is the first year I’ve been involved that we’ve had a shortage in volunteers,” Allen said.

Historically, the county commissioners have made it a point to have geographically diverse representation on the commission, which was the basis for Monday’s discussion, Allen added.

Going forward county staff will explore other avenues of outreach, as well as likely continue with more traditional forms of advertising such as print media, she said.

Deputy county manager search

County staff is making progress on the search for a new deputy county manager, Kevin Batchelder, county manager, informed county commissioners on Monday.

Interviews with four finalists were conducted last week, and the field has since been narrowed to two candidates. Staff is currently conducting background checks on the two finalists, according to Batchelder, who said he thought a decision would be made soon.

Until a finalist is selected and a contract is reached, Batchelder said he could not release names of the candidates.

The position was previously occupied by Batchelder, who was appointed acting manager in July following the departure of former County Manager Andrew Gorgey. Having served as deputy manager since April 2014, Batchelder was officially named county manager in December.

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