Kelly: Surveyor’s job can go in-house
EAGLE COUNTY — For Kelly Miller, running for the county surveyor’s job is simply a matter of efficiency.
Miller works for Eagle County now, as the project surveyor in the county’s building department. In that job, he does much of the surveying work inside a project, ensuring things like roads, utility easements and the like are located where they’re supposed to be. Dan Corcoran, the current county surveyor, checks a project map’s boundaries for accuracy.
Miller says that it wouldn’t be much more work to add the work Corcoran does now to his own job. That, he said, can save the county money. While the elected surveyor is a part-time position, the surveyor does participate in the county’s benefits program. Since he’s already working for the county, and already in the program, taxpayers can save a bit of money by electing him.
“I do most of the (official) work now,” Miller said.
Miller started work for the county in 2006. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he said.
Attending college with the idea of becoming a conservation officer or game warden, Miller said surveying “kind of materialized” as a profession. His first job on a survey crew was in Alaska with the U.S. Forest Service. That led to work with a company in Minnesota, where he climbed the firm’s corporate totem pole from grunt work to part-ownership.
Changes in Miller’s personal life prompted a move to Colorado, where he’s lived since 2000.
Today, Miller’s job includes evaluating development proposals, as well as helping the county attorney’s office, as well as the open space and road and bridge departments. He’s also a member of the Eagle County Planning and Zoning Commission.
“I do a lot of things in the community,” he said. “I like being involved.”
He also provides information to private surveyors whenever they call.
“I try to respond to requests as quickly as possible,” he said.
Miller said the current system works well as it is. Putting records online is a goal, but a time-consuming project he said.
Miller said he’s worked well with Corcoran during the past several years and appreciates the fact that Corcoran has been retired from private practice the past several years (he was in business when first elected, though). Working with someone who has no vested interests in projects has convinced Miller that’s the way the surveyor’s job should be run.
While state law allows surveyors in private practice to serve as elected county surveyors, Miller said he believes anyone running his or her own business will have conflicts from time to time — something his opponent, Ted Archibeque, says won’t happen if he’s elected.
Still, Miller said, “There’s no other interest other than trying to get it right.”
The fact of the matter is that Miller believes the county surveyor’s job shouldn’t be a partisan political position. As an independent, he had to petition his way onto the fall ballot. Running outside the party system, he also acknowledged that the odds are probably stacked against him.
But that’s OK, Miller said. He believes in the job and said he wants keep a good system working well.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.