The survey says . no candidates
Suppose you held an election, and nobody threw in their hat to run? That’s what’s happening in the Garfield County surveyor race – and Mark Bean, Garfield County’s building and planning director, isn’t particularly surprised.”It’s a thankless job,” he said. “It’s basically a voluntary position that demands a sizable amount of time.”In Garfield County, there are approximately 15 survey companies employing dozens of licensed surveyors. But Don Scarrow, whose father Bob held the position from 1962 to 1992, says that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to run for the post. “I would say no one is running due to the hours involved and the lack of compensation,” he said.”I think when Dad retired in the early ’90s, the county surveyor budget was about $3,000,” said Scarrow. “The county surveyor has to check and sign off on every single plat in the county. I remember Dad working 12- to 16-hour days, six to seven days a week, with his own work added onto his county work.”When Bob retired, Sam Phelps – who worked for Bob at Scarrow & Walker – stepped in. Phelps has been voted into the position every four years since then. But not this time. Phelps has not registered as a candidate for the post, and Don Scarrow thinks that Phelps is moving from his Tamarack Building office on Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs to another location. In the meantime, the phone at Phelps’ surveying firm, SurvCo Inc., has been disconnected. Whoever fills the job must hold a current state of Colorado surveyor license, which means that typically a professional surveyor working in the private sector is the only qualified candidate. Bean agrees it’s tough to juggle a professional business with a government position.”The surveyor reviews plats and checks accuracy,” Bean said. “Inconsistencies between surveys must be checked. The surveyor also catches errors before they’re recorded, and researches issues like road rights of way for county commissioners and road and bridge officials.” Bean said the county surveyor can also act as a mediator in resolving disputes between landowners and the county.If no one registers to run for the position, Bean said, Garfield County commissioners may appoint someone – or may not. Scarrow said some jurisdictions, such as Pitkin and Eagle counties, don’t have a county surveyor. In those cases, the county engineer often checks and signs off on survey materials.However if someone is appointed, Scarrow and Bean both agree, county commissioners need to address a more equitable compensation arrangement for the position.
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