No need to break tradition
Little to no extra power comes with a stint at the helm. The chairmanship role means signing documents, a bit more of an imperative to make certain public appearances, some largely figurehead work as the board conducts business.
This week’s board session didn’t exactly come to a grinding halt for current chairman Michael Gallagher’s absence.
Going back 20 years, the tradition among the three commissioners in office is to take turns in the role. Tom Stone served a second year as chairman in 2001 because newly elected commissioners Gallagher and Menconi were still fresh to the board.
But now Menconi figures the other two will deny him his turn next year, having already decided among themselves that Gallagher will take a second term as the chair. It wouldn’t surprise anyone who has watched these three. Gallagher and Stone pretty much form a bloc that often frustrates Menconi, who makes up the minority of the three-member body. Welcome to politics. Alliances matter.
Carrying their advantage to the point of breaking tradition in the sharing of the gavel goes a bit far, though, and would reflect poorly on these two.
It’s Menconi’s turn, and he has demonstrated no fault other than disagreement in positions to merit this sort of petty snub. As for representing the constituency, we’d put him well ahead of the oftimes invisible Gallagher in making himself available to the public. Stone does a good job of getting himself in public, as well, which gives a commissioner – and any public official – wider feedback than nesting in their usual social circles.
Menconi’s role in forming and leading a series of courses and discussions for community leaders this past year was an outstanding example of outreach and leadership. Local officials and other leaders meeting regularly together offer a lot of potential for more unity, trust and decisions that better reflect the fact that no entity operates in a vacuum. The course, which will be offered through Colorado Mountain College starting in January, is also an excellent primer for people considering civic leadership.
It’s as valuable in its way as that successful Stone brainchild, the Youth Conservation Corps, and shows Menconi’s willingness to work outside the strict confines of the county building itself. Menconi is taking an active role in helping educate and build better ties throughout the county, as well as bringing in some excellent thinkers about community planning and economic development to speak.
We harp on these qualities because they carry over very well to county board chairmanship. He’s earned his turn.