D.R.: County’s blueprint for future | VailDaily.com
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D.R.: County’s blueprint for future

Don Rogers

Recently, I got a chance to read the Eagle County government’s to-do list for 2007, broken down by department and printed in gloss. Cool title, too: “Building to Great.”

Aim high, certainly. Spell it out. And then the hard part, try to execute.

Great. Great. And great.

I have a small quibble with putting your list on glossy paper and making it look like a high-end magazine. A PDF on the Web site and printout in each department would seem to be enough, at least to me.

But no big deal. Maybe it gets more attention this way from citizens. Have you seen a copy? It is very nice.

I probably am failing to do the 58-page magazine justice by calling it department to-do lists. The county Web site calls it the “strategic plan.”

Must be that natural insurrectionist nature, a curse of being my anarchist father’s son. But I see “goals” with numbered lists. “Objectives” with numbered lists. And “trends” with numbered lists. Those are “to-do” lists, aren’t they?

It makes for easy reading. And if you as a citizen have a special interest in, say, the airport, you can go down the lists of what they aim to do and see what’s missing.

My favorite in the airport lists is No. 10 Objective: “Evaluate and adopt a new name for Eagle County Regional Airport, which will provide increased name recognition. Aspen-Pitkin County Airport has a much higher name recognition due to Aspen being in the title. Using Vail in the title will provide an automatic increase in name recognition both nationally and worldwide.”

A few thoughts:

One is that Aspen’s airport actually is named Sardy Field, I believe. The Aspen-Pitkin tag seems to be the moniker for the out-of-towners, like Vail/Eagle County Airport has served this purpose for years, too.

Another is that Aspen’s airport might still be remembered for that awful crash in 2001 that killed all 18 aboard a charter plane as it was landing. I’ll bet Eagle County’s airport has benefited from Aspen’s name recognition this way. I know which mountain airport I’d rather fly into for pure safety reasons.

And a lighter observation: That would really set off the purists downvalley who just hate the word “Vail” in connection to anything in their community. The Eagle River runs by the airport, and there’s no such thing as the “Vail Valley” in their minds. (So, “Vail Valley International Airport”!)

For the national and international fliers, it’s already Vail/Eagle County Airport. For the local purists, they can rest easy with Eagle County Regional Airport.

I think you draw a line through No. 10 and call it good.

My professional favorite comes under communications. Goal No. 1 explains a lot to me: “Create a universally positive image and perception of Eagle County government ” its programs, services and elected officials ” by residents, businesses, visitors and employees to be measured with an annual survey.”

I can see where they’d be frustrated sometimes with that damn paper looking for flaws, disagreements, controversies, checking into tips about this and that, and generally not quite drinking enough of the Kool-Aide editorially. Being so skeptical.

Of course, plenty of residents fault us for following too much of the county line in our reporting and doubt that we’re nearly tough enough.

And man, that recall bid on Commissioner Arn Menconi is really going to mess with their No. 1 goal this year. Assuming that’s not just so much hot air, a distinct possibility.

If I were king of the county, I’d sub that goal out for another: In fact always tell the truth, be exceptionally transparent, hold no secrets, listen to the public with both ears. Forget about massaging your image. It will take care of itself anyway.

Still, I applaud the county for putting its intentions into words and sharing with the public it serves. That’s a great start.


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