Social services department director retires
Long-time director of the Garfield County Department of Social Services department, Margaret Long, has retired.
Long was director for 16 years, and her last day of work was Aug. 8.
She is succeeded by Lynn Rennick, who was assistant director under Long and has worked in the department for eight years.
In a letter to her staff dated Aug. 6, Long said, “After a great deal of thought, I have decided that it is time for me to relocate to the Eastern Slope of Colorado. As much as I love the Western Slope and have spent almost 20 years here, my roots and my family are on the other side of the Continental Divide.”
Long, whose family owns Longs Gardens in Boulder, said she would return to Boulder to share in the maintenance of some historic properties owned jointly with her sister.
“All the work to keep up with these properties and see that their future use is one that will be beneficial to the community has fallen to her, and I think it is time that I assume some responsibility in helping her,” Long said.
Her 35-year career in social work began upon graduation from the University of Colorado when she took a job as a social worker for Adams County.
Time and jobs evolved and Long climbed the management ladder. Along the way she earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. She became the director of child and adult welfare for Mesa County from 1980 to 1983.
She took over the job as director of Garfield County social services in 1986.
Over the years Long has overseen improvements to the department and human services in the county. Among them are the birth of the Rural Resort Region, a consortium of five mountain resort counties, including Garfield, united to support regional child welfare issues, and the launching of Healthy Mountain Communities, which works to identify and find solutions for countywide social problems from affordable housing to traffic.
“Margaret has made every effort to try to match the tremendous growth this county has seen in her 16 years of service,” said Carrie Podl, administrator for the Rural Resort Region Child Care Project, which operates within the Garfield County Department of Social Services.
“She brought a lot of information and vision from her previous jobs, especially in increasing child care opportunities. And she has encourage and promoted creativity to solve issues around capacity and growth,” Podl said.
Long is known all over Colorado, Podl said, and her departure “leaves a hole in our community.”
While looking forward to a rest from her labors, Long said she also leaves the department with some sadness.
In her letter to her staff she said, “I can’t begin to tell all of you how much I have enjoyed having the privilege of being the director of this department for the past 16-plus years. We have grown from a staff of 27 to 70. We have expanded our boundaries from the county line to include a number of regional programs serving up to nine counties, and always we have remembered that serving our clients (direct or indirect) is our mission.
“Your commitment and dedication to those we serve and the county as a whole has brought me great joy, and I know you will continue these high standards of performance. I have been privileged to be a part of this effort. You have and do make a real and very significant difference in the lives of our residents,” Long said.
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